Daniel Thompson, Alex Ward, Benedict Taylor - COMPOST (Cram Records)
This debut release from Cram Records, recorded at Shoreditch Church in 2011, is a true ensemble performance, no single artist dominating. The music ranges from almost empty whistles and sighs to space-filling density and violent turbulence. The album puts the listener right in the room; a police siren is clearly audible, as are sniffs and coughs that validate the January recording date. The players (Daniel Thompson - Guitar, Alex Ward - Clarinet, Benedict Taylor - Viola) leave plenty of space for each other without sounding hesitant; each leaning into the middle ground while constructing a strongly bound sound mass, each gesture causing action and reaction among the musicians. Ward and Taylor swirl around each other like bugs around a night light; an instinctual and beautiful dance framed by Thompson's subtle interventions: plucking single ringing tones amidst the tumultuousness, occasionally opting for short runs and bouncing string resonance.
'COMPOST' is not only a fascinating document of an absorbing performance, but an interest-piquing introduction to a new label that promises much if later releases are as good as this one.