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Halsall who has been hailed as one of the leading figures of the UK jazz renaissance has never seen himself as part of any one sound or scene: he builds his own sonic universe instead. An Ever Changing View finds him at his most experimental yet, once again expanding his sound and production techniques to create his unique brand of deeply meditative music.
During the album's creation, he was staying in both a beautiful architect’s house with breath-taking sea views and a striking modernist house, where he composed what he saw “like a landscape painting”. In these new environments, Halsall wanted to capture “the feeling of openness and escapism” and to approach making music again from scratch. “I hit the reset button and wanted to have complete musical freedom,” he says. “It was a real exploration of sound.”
It was hearing jazz on the dancefloor as a teenager that first opened up new possibilities in Halsall’s mind and his music has long drawn on his love for the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders and contemporary electronica from the likes of Warp Records and Ninja Tune. An Ever Changing View melds those forms in a way that feels heady and, at times, even otherworldly. One of the album’s starting points was Halsall’s ever-expanding box of percussion, from congas and kalimba to various clusters of seeds, bells and chimes, which he sampled and looped to use as a foundation for the songs – a first for him and his band. Elevating, charming, totally modern jazz tracks jostle with deft warm magic realism; and laid back grooves with hand percussion, deep bass and the gorgeous glisten of the Fender Rhodes meet hip-hop beats. Halsall himself sparkles, illuminating his beautiful tapestries of sound with lithe, glistening elegiac trumpet.
An Ever Changing View comes in a package as striking as the music, with handmade fonts designed by Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic and the specially commissioned tapestry by artist Sara Kelly is a stunning and harmonious complement to the record's sound.
Barry says: Once again, one of the masters of modern electronic jazz forges a perfect mix of airy, chilled-out lounge, off-piste percussives and silky, revitalising keys. A beautifully hypnotic, evocative masterwork from Halsall, and stunningly presented too. Essential purchase.
An Ever Changing View
Mountains, Trees And Seas
Field Of Vision
Triangles In The Sky