New tunes for changing seasons

Andrew Wasylyk – Fugitive Light And Themes of Consolation

Like so much music that I have loved over recent years, I first became aware of Andrew Wasylyk through the excellent Gideon Coe evening show on BBC Radio 6 Music. Although this is the third album released under the Andrew Wasylyk (a musical alter ego for Andrew Mitchell) name, it was the first one that properly reached me.

I don’t really know what genre it us, there are elements of Jazz, Classical, Ambient Electro. Parts of it could have been made at any time in the last 40 years, it’s timeless, genre less and glorious. Beautifully understated yet overflowing with magnificently insidious melodies, that gradually lure you into their magical world.

Often when I’m listening to it, it reminds me of the sort of gently overpowering music that used to feature on those old BBC2 shows from the 1970’s. The sort of programme when they would have an unnarrated, 90-minute documentary on the day in the life of a park in West London. The camera gently moving through the day and the environment. The strangest, gentlest things suddenly providing an unexpected emotional punch. Well, it’s the same with album, in fact it would be the perfect soundtrack for a such a show.

Further reading around the album reveals that it’s the final part of a trilogy of recordings, based on the landscape of Eastern Scotland (Wasylyk is from Dundee). This makes perfect sense, you can almost feel the sunlight flittering across the water at the end of a languid summer evening.

It’s a beautiful record, one that have had on repeat play since it came into my life.

Nat Birchall – Mysticism Of Sound

Nat Birchall is another musical gift from Gideon Coe show. The Manchester base Jazz and reggae musician has been producing great records for over a decade. His Sacred Dimension album from 2011 is a favourite of mine. It’s a lovely expansive spiritual jazz album taking its cue from the likes of John Coltrane and his haunting work of the 1950’s and 60’s.

This latest release from Birchall sees him doing absolutely everything on the record. So, in addition to his usual Saxophone work, on this album he plays drums, bass clarinet and much more, He also wrote, produced, recorded the album. Of course, he did the sleeve of the record as well. Whether this was a result of the lockdown or just a new direction he wished to take, I’m unsure. What I do know that is that he has produced a perfect jazz album for these uncertain times.

Contemplative and meditative, it weaves its patterns with a majestic grace and soul. Birchall has a rich line in eastern sounding melodies. It’s a richly enjoyable 40 minutes or so.