Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Black Southeaster sneaks in at number 47

Richard Haslop's Top 50 albums of any year is always something to behold and we are proud to have snuck in jointly with Carlo's extraordinary labour of love for 2010. The full list will be published, with artwork, in the next two editions of Audio Video magazine.

47.  Benguela – Black Southeaster (Jaunted Haunts Press) // Carlo Mombelli & the Prisoners of Strange – Theory (Instinct Africaine)

-    though a good deal of the music generated by Benguela, a collectively improvising guitar/bass/drums trio from Cape Town, can be considered experimental, “Black Southeaster” can be approached, with just a little patience, as a guitar album operating in a kind of improvisatory post-rock territory where ideas, as likely to originate in a drum roll or the simple resonance of a single bass note as from any carefully constructed guitar riff or loop, germinate and develop, by careful listening and intuitive response, without unnecessary complication and with constant recognition of the need to keep the music within the listener’s grasp, into a series of more or less spontaneous compositions that are as likely to be dark, dense and churning as ramblingly, languorously, billowingly atmospheric – speaking of spontaneity, bass playing composer Mombelli’s Prisoners Of Strange, with Marcus Wyatt improvising brilliantly on a trumpet as asymmetrical as it is atmospheric, the trombone and frequently extraordinary vocals of Siya Makuzeni, and Justin Badenhorst completing an elastic yet dead-on rhythm section, continue, on a third album full of exploratory joy, surprise and what Mombelli calls spontaneous freestyle chamber jazz, to occupy a crucial and perhaps unique place in South African music.