Lydian Collect/ve


(Lydian Label)

This grouping comprises Aaron Wheeler, Todd Baker, Ida Hollis and Sophie Alloway with composition, production, recording and mastering down to Wheeler and Baker. There are guest singers and players on this release.

Off we go with Thirty One with its arpeggio guitar chording, integrated bass, tinkling piano. string pads and rather unsettling, jerky time signature. It almost suggests Clean Bandit gone Latin Jazz with a spoonful of early Yes. At 2:00 the electric guitar with a Barney Kessel tone jousts and twirls with the piano. A slightly jarring handclap comes in whilst the rhythm goes funk and the guitar returns with delay added. The overall result – yes, this is sprightly and clever and seems to be looking for a film to soundtrack.

Legend Of Lumbar starts off calmer and reflective but then twists into a nagging, stabbing with deep bass and graceful, agile drumming. They sound like the sort of jazzers who smile at each other when they hit a bridge. And all wear spectacles. The spacey pastoral passages are handled well. I picture soft nods in the audience at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho. So far they seem determined not to stay in one time signature for more than a few bars, as if that would betray their intellects. There was a time when I listened to little but Fusion. Until a concert by Return To Forever left the strong impression that the act was playing for themselves, not us the paying audience. Cascades has a weave of pretty melodies that really is quite captivating with gorgeous piano. Will they cock this up by heading into the nethersphere again? The tempo does toughen up and one has to be impressed by such a listening drummer. At 4:40 the funk is taking over, stealthily and the guitar nibbles at the progression, the tone a tad to close to that plummy Metheny sound. Then it’s gone.

Easy has a dreamy piano motif beginning, polyrhythms asserting themselves. Then again that itchy, stabbing stuff that makes this listener feel tense. Having learned bass from Warners-era Herbie Hancock I am used to tempo shifts BUT that warmth must be there. A conclusion that Marcus Miller shares btw, from a conversation I had with him. I’m afraid this music sounds too often clever but cold. It will be magic for other beholders I am sure. On to Overnight and its chilly start, leavened by soft-funk drums and solemn electric piano. This could be Chick Corea. A lovely piece that I will play again, often. Loops has a dreamlike ambience, fat bass and a fiddly signature that once again itches away. Maybe had they incorporated a good percussionist, this material might have swung…

Mr Sunshine has a playful intro suggesting a listenable piece. Michael Underwood’s flute adds colour. The tempo shifts into a jerky lope..of course it does. Sleepyhead takes that dreamy route, white clouds roll by…then Equinox plays with irritating tempo’s. Lydia’s Dream has an intriguing bass-led beginning, the ensemble falling onto place well and more of that flute. Portals starts ethereally. The bass runs hold the attention well, it’s a highlight cut on this collection but lacks melodic thread. The final track is Cartoon Hero. Piano flourishes lead into a shadowy progression and chilly interludes.

Musical mood pieces by excellent musicians who far too often sound as if they are out to impress rather than create and sustain an atmosphere. I do miss Joe Sample and Eric Gale…

Pete Sargeant


(Thanks to Terry Emm)

Lydian Collect/ve's debut album 'Adventure' is released on Friday 30th March 2018 on Lydian Music.

For more information visit their official website here:

Lydian Collect/ve