Bassist Mark Egan, in collaboration with drummer Karl Latham, trumpeter Ryan Carniaux, and special guest keyboardist Nick Rolfe, has released Constellations.
On this album, the group’s interpretations of the music of Icelandic pop star Björk come together to create a restless, probing exploration of textures and harmonies.
Mark’s playing is superb on this album, manically jumping through deep, dark pedal patterns, ambient harmonics, and soaring countermelodies. One notable track is “Wanderlust”, where Mark and Karl Latham weave fascinating rhythmic lines together to create a complex pulse:
The release notes for the album offers, “…the group draws from a wide palette of influences ranging from Miles Davis’ Live-Evil to open ended impressionistic variations.” This description rings true, as the tracks often push the boundaries to explore flights of improvisation. Mark’s connection to, and communication with, the other musicians speaks to his command of harmonic interplay, as in the track “Alugsukat”:
Mark comments, “Constellations is a very special and creative project for me and unlike anything I’ve ever recorded.
From the inspiration and inception of drummer Karl Latham, an avid Björk fan, we recorded our impressions of some of her songs as well as crafted some of our own compositions in the spirit of Björk. During the two days of recording at Barber Shop Studios in New Jersey, engineered by Jeremy Gillespie, we ventured into some very inspired and multifaceted music territories.
Both my 5 string fretless and fretted Pedulla basses were used on the sessions as well as multi-effects on many of the tracks. I created a lot of undercurrents with multilayered delays such as on track #4-“Desired Constellations”, track #5-“Freyja”, track #8-“Gohdi”, track #9-“I See Who You Are”, and track #11-“Huldu Folk”, which created very haunting atmospheres. Most of the music that you hear on this recording was done live. We would first set up some ambient undercurrents through the effects that had separate stereo outlets and then play on top of these loops with another stereo set of outputs. The multi-effect unit that I used is an old Korg 300B for extra delays, chorus and reverb. From the Korg I then went stereo into two Lexicon PCM 42 delays with expanded time delays up to 24 seconds at 16bit resolution.
What made these sessions so special is the level and chemistry of the players and the interplay between Karl, Ryan, myself, and Nick. This is a stream of consciousness recording.”