Isotach LEAF. CD/DL/LP
Innovative, Yorkshire-based composer and improviser dusts off his piano. Matthew Bourne was once hailed as “the future sound of jazz”. His last album, 2016’s Moogmemory, was a work for the titular synthesizer, and his stylistic ambit has been laudably unpredictable since finishing contemporary composition studies in the mid-’90s. Still regarded principally as a pianist, Bourne had all but abandoned the instrument during a creative trough, with the tracks on the meteorologically inspired Isotach (a line of constant wind speed on a weather chart) captured randomly between other projects. Snatched improvisations they may be, but there’s nothing throwaway about the delicate, pensive Isopleth, with its spare piano note clusters offset by smears of Bourne’s melancholy cello, or the aching Candela (for Sasha Heeney), which recalls the chamber beauty of Rachel’s. The disquieting Extinction, meanwhile, constantly threatens to morph into Radiohead’s Pyramid Song, and everywhere Bourne’s judicious minimalism proves compelling.