Posts Tagged ‘Get Out of My Head’

Josh Kyle‘s new album has me jumping for joy.

Not only because it is music worth jumping up and down about – which it is – but because it also reminds me in the best way that there is still adventurous and exciting music out there, with adventurous and exciting artists seeking it.

For Trombone Song Cycle, Kyle has taken the inspired step of performing with the accompaniment of four trombones around his voice, and nothing else. At first, once might think it risky – a misstep of arrangement or vocal approach here or there could spell murky or misguided disaster.

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But on hearing Andrew Murray‘s challenging yet simpatico arrangements under and around Kyle’s unique voice and singular vocal approach, one wonders why this has not been done before. You see, the trombone is one of the the instruments closest to the human voice in its ability to slur, bark, snap and whimper. Its range is also very close to the range of the human voice.

Opener ‘Get Out of My Head’ sets the soundscape – Kyle’s long-note melody repeats over counterpoint in the four trombones, setting a tension that releases slowly as one senses the overlaps and cross currents in the harmonic lattice. The result is mesmerising.

Kyle’s falsetto here – the top of a remarkable range – is luminous; there are times across the whole album where it is difficult to say where the voice finishes and the trombones begin. The voice is used often by Murray as a fifth trombone, as where that same falsetto is nested into the trombones on the piece ‘No 5’ . Kyle1

The aspiration chant ‘I Can’ (“I can be stronger/I can be higher”) has brassy blare and greasy gliss in unison with the voice. A solo is played over the lightest harmonic gossamer pedal below. I would not like to try to pic the soloists across Trombone Song Cycle, though I think I detect James Greening‘s big spirit here or there and James Macaulay‘s sass on one track, though it equally could be Adrian Sherriff or Jordan Murray.

But the scape is not all indigo dream and counterpoint – the spitting syncopation of ‘The One’ has the trombone quartet setting up a charging rhythm against Kyle’s voice,  the percussive ‘crack’ of the trombone’s bell splitting the rhythm.

Album closer is the love song ‘Song For Meg’, a high point for me. Here the trombones lend a bed of crackle-edged dissonance under Kyle’s hymn-like melody, with the tenderness palpable in his delivery. It is this tenderness which elevates Josh Kyle’s vocal artistry; it is always gratifying to see technique subsumed to emotion and ‘the story’ in an artist with so many years ahead of him.

With its artistic courage and truly inspired approach, Trombone Song Cycle would be the jewel in any other artist’s crown. Yet, I have a strong and good feeling that it is another strong port-of-call in a life that will take Josh Kyle – and any of us who want to listen – to some truly wonderful places.

 

Josh Kyle’s website is http://www.joshkylemusic.com

 

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