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WorldService Project and ReDiViDeR

Match & Fuse EP No. 3


by Ian Mann

January 09, 2012

/ EP

WSP and their European counterparts have youthful brio and talent to burn.

WorldService Project / ReDiViDeR

“Match & Fuse EP No. 3”

“Match & Fuse” is the name given to a series of collaborations between the young British group WorldService Project and their similarly inclined and equally youthful counterparts in a variety of European countries. The first “match” saw WSP linking up with the Norwegian band Synkoke to perform a series of events in both the UK and Norway with both bands playing a set each before a final on stage “mash up” featuring the personnel of both groups. The fruits of this collaboration can be briefly heard on this new EP.

WSP have since teamed with the German trio Schulbus to produce a second “Match & Fuse” limited edition EP and to perform gigs in Oxford and London in November 2011. WSP will be travelling to Berlin to appear with Schulbus at the city’s Jazzkeller 69 venue on February 24th 2012.
Schulbus consists of guitarist Hannes Buder, saxophonist Robert Menzel and drummer Hannes Lingens. Their music on the second “Match & Fuse” EP is both interesting and enjoyable and is reminiscent of a slightly more restrained trioVD. WSP ‘s contribution to the record comprises of three more tracks culled from their début album “Relentless” with the title track appearing alongside “There’s Always One” and “Bye Bye”.

This third Match & Fuse collaboration teams WSP with the chordless Irish group ReDiViDeR who are led by the drummer and composer Matt Jacobson. With saxophone (Nick Roth), trombone (Colm O’ Hara) and electric bass (Derek Whyte) in the line up the instrumentation has many similarities to that of WSP. Jacobson claims Charles Mingus, Steve Coleman, Deerhoof, Phil Ivey and the Carnatic Music of Southern India as influences and his two pieces on this latest Match & Fuse EP are never less than interesting.

The first, “And Much” begins with bleary, rasping, overblown trombone shadowed by the leader’s oddball percussive effects (cymbal scrapings etc.) in what I assume to be largely improvised opening. Eventually more orthodox drumming takes over and a clear melody emerges with Whyte’s liquid, cerebrally funky electric bass leading the way for a substantial passage mid tune. Roth’s squalling alto sax dominates the latter stages with Jacobson’s increasingly powerful drumming driving him forward. The group’s press release describes their music as “downtown grooves with catchy melodies and collective improvs.”. At various times elements of all three can be detected here. 

The second ReDiViDeR (the group is keen to emphasise the palindromic nature of its name) piece “The End Is The Best Part”  places a stronger emphasis on melody with Roth’s alto sax skipping and doodling above O’ Hara’s trombone vamp and Whyte’s springy, low register bass grooves. Later there’s an agile trombone solo above gently propulsive bass and drum grooves, a brief passage of sax/trombone counterpoint, and a vibrant bass and drum dialogue before a rousing sax led finale. Together the two pieces form a tempting taster for the UK live dates later in January 2012.   

For regular WSP listeners this latest EP will be pick of the bunch thus far. Rather than raiding their début album again the group have included two new tunes captured in live performance at London’s Vortex Jazz Club in November 2011. From the same evening WSP also appear alongside Synkoke in a segue of “Small Town Girl” and the Norwegian band’s “Ho Seier Kva Ho Tykkjer”. Led by keyboard player and composer Dave Morecroft WSP also features saxophonist Tim Ower, trombonist Raphael Clarkson and the rhythm pairing of Conor Chaplin (electric bass) and Neil Blandford (drums). 

Morecroft’s imaginative compositions match old style funk with Led Bib/ Acoustic Ladyland style skronk and something of Django Bates madcap inventiveness. Morecroft’s pieces are full of incident, racing up and down the gears with remarkable sophistication. The three WSP pieces here are a musical white knuckle ride and a reminder of just how exciting this young band can be when they appear live.

Opener “Dance Of The Clown” conveys something of the humour inherent in the title via a mix of squalling, brawling sax and trombone, whistling synth and crazy stop/start rhythms that periodically coalesce to form killer hooks and grooves. Owers shades the instrumental honours with a thrilling sax solo.

“Villain Of The Aeroplane” (perhaps intended as a companion piece to the album’s “Hero of the Bus”) also packs a hefty punch with its powerful riffs and grooves and shuddering tempo changes.
Everybody acquits themselves well on this hugely exciting piece of classic WSP.

Like the earlier “Dance Of The Clown” the closing “Small Town Girl” featured in the highly entertaining WSP set that I saw at the 2011 Brecon Jazz Festival. Teamed here with SynKoke’s “Ho Seier Kva Ho Tykkjer” it makes for a celebratory and irresistibly funky conclusion with bellicose horns uniting above heavy grooves as Morecroft delivers a stunning electric piano solo. The trademark switchback rhythms are here in abundance, WSP are adept at dynamic contrast but inevitably just can’t resist going for the jugular as here. The use of voices is a good indication of just how much fun the two bands had in storming their way through these two tunes and the Vortex crowd respond with a reciprocating enthusiasm.

WSP and their European counterparts have youthful brio and talent to burn. Match No. 4 will team them with the Italian group Tribaco in April and I’ll be taking a look at that in due course. In the meantime we have this collaboration with ReDiVideR to look forward to. 2012 is shaping up to be a very important year for Dave Morecroft and WSP and should see the group’s reputation to continue to grow across the UK and Europe.

This limited edition EP will be available at the gigs listed below;

WorldService Project & ReDiviDeR (match no. 3)

January in UK

Friday 20
London: Vortex 11 Gillett Square, N16 8AZ
Saturday 21
Nottingham: Café Bar Contemporary, Weekday Cross NG1 2GB
Sunday 22
Bristol: Leftbank, 128 Cheltenham Road, Montpelier, BS6 5RW

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