Rich Perks album “Imposition” review
Rich has held the guitarist chair in the Southampton University Jazz Orchestra and has played the North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Rich held the teaching position of Head of Guitar at the International Centre for Music in Qatar (Middle East) for a year. He has a Masters Degree in Contemporary Music from Brunel University and completed his PhD research at Brunel University in 2013, submitting a portfolio of compositions and accompanying thesis entitled, ‘Combining Musical Identities Through Composition and Improvisation’. He is currently a Lecturer in Music Performance at the University of Kent
Imposition the album…
I’ve played this through many times and still have not unravelled all its complexities. It is immediately evident that Rich completely understands the fretless guitar and its possibilities. While you could label the music contemporary it by no means describes the album itself. Yes, the music is contemporary and “out there” but remains very understandable and very worth listening to, I guess you would say accessible to a wider audience. There are some nice blended sound effects and the later tracks on the album certainly push the boundaries. I really like the road trip this album takes, not afraid to startle the listener, or disregard the general rules and take off in an unexpected direction. If you want a glimpse into where contemporary music for fretless guitar is going, I really recommend this album, great listening, great music.
Review – Jahloon
Rich Perks: In his own words…
Imposition explores the relationship between composition and improvisation to varying degrees. I wanted to see how different compositional techniques or methods effect improvisations; how improvisation can occur within certain compositional parameters or boundaries and how improvisers react and perform when considering certain focal points. Starting from the first track, which is essentially a rigidly structured composition with limited solos, the degree of freedom for the improvising musician increases until we get to the last track which is a collective (loosely guided) free improvisation. The tracks in-between bridge this gap by altering the balance.
The album opens with The Giraffe in the Enigmatic Hat, a tune which is scored in detail, leaving occasional space for musicians to solo and improvise. This is followed by Verde Azul Anil which draws upon modal jazz techniques of the late 1950s, giving the musicians more choice in their improvisations, then Filthy J which explores the notion of static harmony, making the soloists work hard to maintain interest over long pedalled solo sections. ShadEs provides the improviser with an indeterminate set of musical motifs and is structurally free, as is Double Exposure which works on the same principle, although this time the focal points are graphics and have no tonal or harmonic input. II’s Company relies on direction and ‘game’ like rules, but has limited notational input, and finally Extemporaneous Sonata comprises simply a list of ‘movements’ and basic instructions around which free improvisation is to occur.
As the structures of the first three tracks were pre-determined, they were recorded by multi-tracking which allowed for easier logistics (i.e. recording at variable locations; at different times; with minimal rehearsal etc.). The remaining tracks however, were all recorded as live takes as the compositions are structurally free and improvisation, interaction and direction are the governing factors.