With tracks selected from all four of their Real World albums Pole Star (1997), Lightbox (2009) Kaleidophonica (2012) and Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow (2015), Repeater showcases the exquisite sound of these four brilliant musicians whose aim is to combine the multi-layered complexity of classical music with the melodic strength of traditional folk tunes and the simplicity and groove of modern loop-based music.
This music of many-layered depth is produced with just four instruments at any given moment. Jane Harbour (violin/viola), Jon Hunt (acoustic guitar/cello), Alex Vann (mandolin) and Jason Sparkes (piano accordion/piano) break through the boundaries of their instruments and play them in unconventional ways.
Harbour says: "Someone said to me when I was very young, think of your violin as a drum kit, and I've been trying to do that ever since."
As Vann puts it: "We re-imagine our instruments. For me, my greatest challenge musically is trying to get emotion out of the mandolin. I have to make it punch above its weight. Whereas Jane refuses to fall into the emotive clichés of the violin, she packs it with emotion, but it's not expressed in an expected way."
Unfettered in their thinking about what's possible, they rise to the demands of the music.
And the music is demanding. It's exhilarating, whether watching the band perform or listening in the comfort of your own home. The whole thing is so totally dependent on complex parts interlocking at the right moment that you sense one slip and it would all come crashing down, like a small, mistimed movement in Formula 1 might prove suddenly fatal. And like that expert drive, the precision is so fine that it's freeing; freedom and space flow from the intricacy of the arrangements.
- The band are masters... ...the band members are masters in turning the ordinary into something amazing and new. The energy and enthusiasm are palatable, and there's a sense of celebration that echoes throughout. Read the full review here. ★★★★ Allaboutjazz.com