I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy of Unrecorded Beam by Billy Bottle and the Multiple. I’ve had three listens to the album and it’s been a strange but rewarding journey.
At first I was half hearing it playing in the kitchen with the noise of family life competing for attention. What I thought I heard was Canterbury style English Jazz-Folk and I feared that Unrecorded Beam was going to be a wistful meander through well-trodden territory. Knowing this wasn’t going to be a fair listen I played it again in the evening, with headphones on, and heard a completely different sound. Yes, there were stains of the Canterbury scene, but also a far more direct and jazzy feel. There were some lovely chords and changes, whole raft of beautiful vocals and a plentiful supply of great musicianship which had found that difficult line between technique and feel. Everyone playing on this album sounded like they were doing it for love. The rhythm section of Gary Evans and Mike Outram provided exactly the right base to build the songs on and instrumentalists like flutist Vivien Goodwin-Darke made a huge contribution without over-playing.
On the third listen, also with headphones, I heard the extra layer. If a good part of my life wasn’t taken up with playing and recording music I might not have understood how important this layer was. But there, for me to enjoy, was the crisp production and masterful mixing of Lee Fletcher. There too were the numerous subtle touches which marked this out as a 21st Century project. Moments of soundscapes, post-production tweaks of voices and instruments and more other-worldly moments. Markus Reuter’s Touch Guitar on Outward Morning is part of this modern yet timeless feel and fits in perfectly with the more traditional sounds of soprano sax, flute and violin.
There’s a lot to love here and, as with all the best music, each replay rewards you with something new to hear. Pop over to Bandcamp for a listen and to buy it.