To Speak

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath


Vor­tic­ity MEL­BOURNE-BASED jazz-fu­sion group EQ has achieved ac­claim dur­ing its eight-year his­tory in live per­for­mances and with its de­but, self-ti­tled al­bum in 2008. It’s a stan­dard trio of gui­tar, bass and drums by Chris Bieniek, Kit Ri­ley and Chris Broom­head re­spec­tively, but with added syn­the­siser pro­gram­ming, plus oc­ca­sional guest pi­anist Daniel Gassin. Un­like some jazz-fu­sion, this mu­sic is not overly heavy, tend­ing more to­wards thought­ful, fig­u­ra­tive ideas and ex­pres­sive rather than drop-forge drumming, mak­ing it likely to ap­peal more to the jazz — rather than the rock — end of the spec­trum. There are ref­er­ences to Pat Metheny in Bieniek’s play­ing, par­tic­u­larly in Shred­der­saurus Rex where a gui­tar solo rips out at fin­ger-shredding speed. One of sev­eral slower tracks, Nat­u­ral

High, adds Gassin’s keys to the mix in flow­ing as­cend­ing, of­ten 16th note pas­sages to in­tro­duce a more chordal gui­tar at first, but mov­ing on to fast sin­gle note work as the bass and drums build their own lines be­low. Cheek opens with a quite pretty melodic line from gui­tar and bass in uni­son and con­tin­ues with a leisurely gui­tar solo and lazy, sunny af­ter­noon keys. Sim­i­larly the ti­tle track has a ro­man­tic at­mos­phere, open­ing with dreamy pi­ano roam­ing against a gui­tar and synth tex­tured wash, fol­lowed by a more gal­vanis­ing gui­tar solo and a swing­ing one from the pi­ano, im­bued with a sprin­kling of clas­si­cal in­flu­ences. The ti­tle track, and the long­est at nearly eight min­utes, con­cludes in­ter­est­ingly in a lengthy se­ries of pi­ano and drum ex­changes of three re­peated stac­cato chords and Broom­head’s busily con­trast­ing per­cus­sion.

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