Sean Roe

Album Reviews

Get The Blessing - 'Astronautilus' by Sean Roe

Get The Blessing is a jazz fusion/post rock band from Bristol featuring Jim Barr and Clive Deamer of Portishead on bass and drums with Jake McMurchie on saxes and Pete Judge on trumpet and flugelhorn. All players appear to use live processing and electronics to alter and enhance the sound of their instruments.

Astronautilus their 5th album was recorded while the band was holed up on a remote part of the Cornish coast where the landscape clearly influenced their playing and song titles! They have retained the experimental playfulness and jazzy stylings of their previous recordings, but their sound palette has expanded somewhat.  About half of the tracks have a darker feel with greater emphasis on texture and atmospherics, with more open form song structures - particularly on a track like Sepia, which is drenched in echo and reverb like a kind of murky subaquatic inky tone poem. Good humour and lightness also has a place in this varied set with Monkfish, a Thelonius Monk inspired foot stomper that the band clearly enjoyed performing in the recording studio (if the audible off mike vocal exaltations are anything to go by).


There is an adventurous use of electronics throughout, on one of the slower songs like Carapace with its echoey ethereal sax loops that build to a crescendo before rippling away through granular synthesis to silence - and on the up-tempo more rhythmic tracks like the album opener afro-beat influenced Phaenomena, with its overdriven and insistent low-fi bass pattern and blistering distorted sax solo by Jake McMurchie.  Cornish Native is another stand out track with Pete Judge’s “mutant trumpet” (reminiscent of Jon Hassell) providing the opening rhythmic melody line.  With these electronic storms brewed up by the call and response improvisations of the sax and trumpet, underpinned by the rock steady bass of Jim Barr, it is often the clean precision and inventiveness of Clive Deamer’s drumming that shines through on these recordings.
With this album Get The Blessing have solidified their reputation creating inventive genre defying music that is varied and unfussy that has melody and improvisation at its heart. Warmly recommended!

Astronautilus is out now on Naim and is available to buy from here

Pick up a copy of our latest issue to read Sean's interview with Get the Blessing prior to their show at the SVA/Goods Shed on Sat 5th December

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Sean Roe is a Stroud based artist and musician. He runs JunKroom Records an extremely small outlet for unusual music