Aytche 8/10 Saxophonist’s contemplative, ambient-jazz delight
Independent debuts by ensemble players are seldom as ravishing as this. Joseph Shabason has form, as saxophonist with DIaNa and Destroyer and go-to guy for acts including the War On Drugs, but Aytche smudges the boundaries between ambient, “nu jazz” and minimalism. With recurrent motifs to ensure the tracks play as a set piece, it shifts from warm, gaseous exhalations (ecstatic opener, “Looking Forward to Something, Dude”) to liquid symphonics (“Long Swim”) and noisy, saw-toothed eruptions (“Smokestack”). Coltrane, Eno and Metheny are touchstones, but Shabason’s abstraction is sensual, his language emotional: “Westmeath”, which concerns the suicide of a holocaust survivor, is particularly lethal in its softness.