In Just a few short years Ma have carved out a reputation as one of the most interesting of a new wave of electro-jazz outfits. Led by Redsnapper/Outhouse saxophonist, Tom Challenger, an improviser and composer who has been described by Jazzwise as ‘mature beyond his years’ and influenced by the likes of Burial and Supersilent, MA features fellow Loop collective collaborator, drummer Dave Smith, organist Ross Stanley as well as long term friend and collaborator Matt Calvert on electronics. Within a setting of dubby beats and drones, Ma utilise deceptively simple themes as a launch pad for music that is hugely atmospheric but full of powerful improvisation and unexpected textures.
Their latest album ‘The Last’ is a culmination of 18 months work combining improv, electronics, live sampling, and synths into their new music. In the process their music has become simplified, with predominantly improvised shows moving slowly between pre- prepared material, during which the band reposition the boundaries of the ‘sonic’ worlds that currently exist within jazz and improvised music. Drawing on dark, abstract dub sound worlds, Ma’s musical process moves beyond the scope of most jazz-electronica projects towards something compelling, cohesive and highly individual. Fiercely interactive, the band contribute ideas simultaneously as compositions are deconstructed, developed and reformed. In turn, this inspires passages of interweaving group improvisation that produce thematic elements that are then subjected to the same processes.
The extraordinary instrumentation of guitar, trombone and drums is one of a kind, making NeWt sound like no other group. The common languages are those of jazz and improvisation, however, elements of rock, ambient/electronic and folk/world music are also prevalent in the sound.
NeWt's music has been compared to everything from “New York underground” (Tim Berne/Jim Black's Alas No Axis), to “Lyrical Post-bop” (Dave Holland's recent Quintet) and even Stravinsky. Their latest album “NeWt 2” featuring Silke Eberhard from Berlin, has been released by the F-IRE Collective of London to wide acclaim.
Triofon is an improvising laptop trio made up of Jules Rawlinson, Dave Murray-Rust and Owen Green that brings together plunderphonic impulse and performance practice, weaving together influences from Basic Channel to Black Sabbath, and Stockhausen to Steinski.
Jules, Dave and Owen are all active within the various configurations thrown together by the University's Sound Lab Edinburgh collective, focusing on the interstices of 'musicking' with technology. The laptops are networked allowing each performer to sample and process the output of any of the others, and to use these audio outputs as control data for signal processing, creating a dub bricollage that's fractured and flowing by turns, generating material that is woven together with interactions and interjections, riposte and repose.
In short, Dave brings the beats, Owen brings the noise, and Jules brings too many controllers to fit on one table.