Ninety Degrees Gravity, Trish Clowes’ fifth album for Basho Records (and second with her current band My Iris), is inspired by the idea of a universal language and the images in Denis Villeneuve’s acclaimed sci-fi film ‘Arrival’. The album title is drawn from the scene in the film where the main characters enter the alien pod for the first time, forever changing their perception of reality – akin to the ongoing moments of revelation in the life of a musician. A music video to accompany the track ‘Abbott & Costello’ will also explore these themes.
The notion of the vastness of space also inspires the track ‘Dustlings’ (“we are stardust” from Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’), with taking time out to contemplate the cosmos enabling us to liberate ourselves from the everyday. ‘I.F.’ celebrates new life by being dedicated to the sons of Ross Stanley and Chris Montague respectively. Initially developed through the activities of Emulsion VI (Clowes’ ongoing cross-genre music festival), the recorded version incorporates samples of her band members’ babies.
Other compositions on the album have roots in musical influences or ideas. ‘Eric’s Tune’ is dedicated to Eric Gravatt, drummer with Weather Report between 1972 and 1974. Some of the rhythmic ideas for this piece, and also some of the other music on the album, were inspired by the Live In Tokyo 1973 album. ‘Lightning Les’, included here in a dynamic live recording, explores some of the musical ideas Clowes and the bandmembers were working on at the time of writing, including saxophone multiphonics and ‘western swing’ on the guitar. With its title referencing the fast setting on the Hammond organ Leslie tremolo unit, it also seeks to reclaim the organ sound from the cliched seaside perception as a means of creating atmosphere and texture in creative, improvised music. ‘Free To Fall’, in which Clowes incorporates lyrics, was written after the band’s successful 2017 tour, speaking to the trust between musicians and a nod to the Wayne Shorter Quartet and their album ‘Without A Net’.
‘Ninety Degrees Gravity’ finds Trish Clowes exploring new musical settings, creating compelling atmospheres and using music to explore a range of wider concepts and ideas. It also captures My Iris continuing to evolve as a band.
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