The Seed consists of eight compositions with obvious modern jazz references, as well as influences from classical and post rock. The cinematic introduction of the opening track, ‘Crossing Lines’, immediately engulfs the audience into the atmosphere of the album. All eight pieces of this album fluidly shift between moods, textures and tempos, revealing high levels of musicianship and chemistry.
The compositions create continuous exchanges of emotions and images, retaining an undiminished anticipation from the first note to the last. Each piece tends to refer to a different musical genre. ‘Fax From Fux’ contains baroque elements, ‘Poisonous Little Flower’ moves with an impressionistic mood, but all compositions maintain an amalgamated character, due to the common jazz background of the four musicians. The quartet, from Athens, explore the amazingly broad varieties of timbres and dynamics of the instruments while managing to maintain, through the whimsical arrangements, a diversity of sound, with an aesthetically contemporary approach.
‘Crossing Lines’ starts with a simple three note repetition on the piano with additional notes from guitarist Thomas Mitrousis before the melody is introduced by Kostas Yaxoglou. Dynamic changes are subtle, but the energy of the piece does grow via the guitar before becoming more subdued through the piano and bass playing. ‘Chopping Therapy’ comes in at a pace with piano and then guitar. The tune moves through with the lead swapping between Mitrousis and Yaxoglou with solid support from Kitsos on double bass (there is a nice, bowed bass section, which changes the feel of the tune) and Klonis at the drums.
‘Quinta’ is a slow number with a classical guitar sound. A good, plucked bass section alongside considered note selection from pianist Yaxoglou makes for a pleasant, relaxed sound that I really enjoyed. ‘Tararirarom’ picks up the tempo with its bright repeating guitar phrase that takes us into a tune that is staccato driven with moments of lyricism – the tune never really settles, and I like that about this number. ‘Fax From Fux’ has already been said to contain baroque elements and those elements become more pronounced as the tune progresses and makes this, for me, the standout album track.
‘Poisonous Little Flower’ is another slower paced number with an interesting use of electronica that gives the tune an almost sinister edge. The guitar of Mitrousis becomes a touch edgier at one point but always against a softer repeating phrase that anchors the tune. ‘Bipolar Express’ is the jazziest of the numbers heard so far and the interplay between piano and guitar is very good. Klonis’ drumming on this track offers a great counterpoint to the playing of Mitrousis and Yaxoglou, as well as during the bass section from Kitsos, adding to the layered textures of this tune making for a very strong offering – perhaps this ought to be my album standout track … decisions, decisions, decisions. The album closes out with ‘Not Yet’ and is another example of a fine tune based around repeating phrases that develop in textural sound as the piece moves through its 5’ 29” length.
I enjoyed listening to this release and will be very interested in where the group take their music on a follow-up album. It has been suggested that this quartet “gives a whirlwind, feet-off-the-ground experience”, I am not sure that is an apt description because I felt that the group were very grounded in the jazz style but added interesting touches from other musical forms and produced a solid debut album that hints at what be to come.
Musicians: Thomas Mitrousis – guitar; Kostas Yaxoglou – piano; Paraskevas Kitsos – double bass; Dimitris Klonis – drums.
Tracklist: 1. Crossing Lines. 2. Chopping Therapy. 3. Intro to Quinta. 4. Quinta. 5. Tararirarom. 6. Fax From Fux. 7. Poisonous Little Flower. 8. Bipolar Express. 9. Not Yet.
This album is available now through Bandcamp.