Yet another intriguing release from the Discus label. I thought it was Julie Tippetts vocalising at first, but it turns out it is Maggie Nicols who also plays keyboards ‘scatting’ the instruments’: a quirky piano motif of her own and Phil Hargreaves’ wild tenor/ soprano sax as it turns out on ‘Approximately Diagonal’ ,a weird 10-minute concoction of broken beats and humans impersonating instruments and instruments impersonating humans. It is no surprise to find that Phil had been in a group called Frakture Big Band! ‘Feasting with Panthers’ is also a long piece where the free jazz was a bit too much for me, I’m afraid.
‘Hamadryad’ was a piece I could relate to – why it didn’t lead off the album I don’t know. There is a groove for the brain to hang onto and you can hear Fran Bass’s electric bass and the versatility of drummer Harrison – still it’s not an easy listen and lacks variation to be sustained for 8 minutes. Apart from that there are some vignettes and some spoken dialogue. By the way the band is from south Wales and is pronounced sha-pea-eye (shapes).