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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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String Theory




  1. Clash of the Clans, parts 1-3
  2. Shimmer
  3. Introduction to the Buffalo
  4. The Buffalo
  5. Bartering with Bob
  6. The River
  7. Wray Common
  8. Body and Soul
  9. Cover
  10. The Landing

Partikel: Duncan Eagles (saxophone): Max Luthert (bass): Eric Ford (drums): Benet McLean and David Le Page (violins): Carmen Flores (viola): Matthew Sharp (cello)

No recording details

WHIRLWIND WR4671 [61:00]

Intriguing. The meshing of trio – sax, bass and drums – with a string quartet is by no means a unique undertaking but it’s been uncommonly well done here in an album that consistently proves colourful and entertaining. It’s the third outing for the septet on disc. The twelve tracks are the work of Duncan Eagles with the exception of Body and Soul, and Introduction to the Buffalo, which was written by fellow Partikel member, Benet McLean.

The three-part Clash of the Clans is a kind of mini-suite that takes in music that ranges from thrashy to airy, from string cushion to a much more integrationist policy on the necessity to weave the strings into the musical fabric. This is no trio + quartet undertaking; this is a fully integrated ensemble building strongly on its past experiences in concert and rehearsal. Drummer Eric Ford makes a particularly telling contribution to the last of the three mini-movements, where Eagles’ tone takes on a more lyrical edge than is to be encountered on some of the other tracks. There’s a distinctly quasi-classical violin solo from McLean on his Introduction to the Buffalo which acts as a kind of feint before the tune proper, which is played as a funky short-breathed opus with fine trio work.

One of the very best pieces is Wray Common. Here the warmly textured strings – never ornamentally used however – mesh with some sparky and spiky funk motifs, swaying beautifully, with strings against the tenor sax, the first violin playing a kind of sophisticated obbligato over drum patterns. But the most startling track is undoubtedly the out-of-body transformative experience that is Body and Soul which gets a total makeover – up tempo, dynamic, sonically piquant, Eagles waiting until over four minutes to allude to the tune. The effect is transformative and retrospectively remarkable.

There is some high quality music making to be heard in this beautifully recorded album.

Jonathan Woolf

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