Cosmic Smokers / Live At the Y


Cosmic Smokers / Live At the Y

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The Cosmic Smokers are something of a British style Berlin School inspired super group this time featuring John Christian and Peter Ruczynski of AirSculpture; Grant Middleton of Under the Dome; Andy Bloyce from Kubusschnitt and Paul Nagle from Joint Intelligence Committee. In other words the same line up as at their National Space Centre concert except that on this occasion Andy Bloyce has replaced Adrian Beasley. Lovely spacey twittering sounds and cosmic winds provide a rather traditional start to such an album but hardly surprisingly given the pedigree of the people involved, these aren’t just any old sounds, they are quite exquisite and wonderfully crafted, hitting the spot perfectly, taking the mind on it’s own serene blissed out journey. The first sequence doesn’t just blunder forward, instead it is slowly formed, probing it’s environment like some living thing, then gradually gaining confidence as it rises through the mix encouraged by the subtlest of lead lines. With five musicians on stage it would be far too easy for the sound to get too cluttered and over the top but this is never the case here as each comes and goes as needed, contributing something when he thinks it is right to do so then departing for a while after making his contribution and let someone else have their ‘say’. There are whole passages for instance when Andy’s guitar can not be heard but then when he does make an entrance his playing fits the mood perfectly, either when the sequences start to swell or as extra cosmic colouring during some of the atmospheric passages (especially on the start of the second track). Even though this is improvised music (so by definition all new music) the musicians are so used to working together now through their previous concert and various rehearsal sessions that there are never any awkward moments. The whole thing has a wonderful organic flow, subtle at one moment, forceful at the next depending on the prevailing mood at the time. Both main tracks for instance are an absolute masterclass in how to build a sequencer based piece, keeping the attention locked on for each of the over forty minute durations. Never has quarter of an hour flown by so quickly- twice! I have mentioned sequences in passing so far- but what sequences! They range from excellent to simply awesome, surging one moment, taking a supporting role the next. (DL) ;\ ‘\’