nzoa july 2019

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Reviewed by Pedro Santos

Alargo: Primacy EP

Reviewed by Pedro Santos

Alargo: Primacy EP

Back in 2015, Auckland keyboardist Alan Brown released an album of ambient piano improvisations, the premise being to allow the recording environment to help direct and create the music.

In Alargo he is joined by trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist, and fellow MAINZ tutor, Kingsley Melhuish, with the pair maintaining that sense of spatial exploration, albeit in a musical conversation utilising a far greater array of instruments, tempos and moods.

Released on the Pacific Echoes label, ‘Primacy’ backs up Alargo’s debut three-track (46-minute) 2016 release ‘Central Plateau’.

The CD’s cover photography is a perfect evocation of the four-track EP’s introductory tracks Vocale and Primacy; a deserted city streetscape made hauntingly edgy by late-night mist / early morning fog.

Caution, even trepidation is called for, but confidence slowly builds as progress is made without major incident until by the tuba-led track four, Zorniseg, there is a sense of revelling in the challenge of driving blind.

Their jazz leanings become evident, particularly via Melhuish’s fx-ed trumpet stabs, the track and EP resolving by fading away into the mist.

The music was recorded ‘live’ in the studio, with no added overdubs.

Prime contemplative film and TV soundscape fodder for sure, but the patient musicality of this electro-acoustic duo means this EP could just as well be regularly enjoyed as a personal soundtrack to long journeys, a background to animated dinner parties or late-night philosophical dialogue.