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John Clare
Sydney Morning Herald

"A very interesting Australian disc and a significant leap beyond their first effort, which was good enough. This one finds a real identity in that area where jazz seeks to engage with other modern forms.

There was a time when popular music had to get with jazz because jazz was the energy of the times. All the great popular composers were influenced and they influenced jazz in turn. Jazz continues to develop, in a kind of underground where it cannot help but interact -not only with rock, but with other undergrounds.

The first track here is based on an Aboriginal melody and is voiced in long, unison harmony tones on trumpet and soprano saxophone. These sound almost electronic, and the bumping, dancing, popping and oddly detached rhythm accompaniment subtly suggests techno music.

In fact, nothing here is exactly like any other kind of music, but strong affinities are established. Unison trumpet and soprano carry most of the tunes -a wonderfully bright, polished sound which becomes haunting and plangent at times. Some of these melodies are like the kind of jazz the mutant band played in the original Star Wars movie.

Others are long-toned repeating shapes, rather like Miles Davis's version of Nefertiti. A piece by bassist Alex Hewetson sounds initially like courtly Renaissance music. It develops martial and pagan overtones and ends with one of the few points of hard, blasting, congested energy on the disc.

A11-out jazz solos are deployed sparingly, too, but when either trumpeter Phil Slater or saxophonist Rick Robertson lets rip the energy fairly blazes. Likewise, the rhythm team of drummer Simon Barker and percussionist Aykho Ahkrif are sparing with the full barrage, which, when it comes, is all the more effective. Matt McMahon is effectively minimal throughout on electric and grand piano.

Baecastuff is something else."

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12:14:39 AM, 13 February 2016
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