Boomkat Product Review:
Leading UK jazz pianist and Linkwood collaborator Greg Foat teams up with Italian ambient veteran Gigi Masin on this lush set of cosmic ambient jams. Featuring Moses Boyd, Tom Herbert and Siobhan Cosgrove.
When Foat heard Masin's legendary 'Wind' album in 2016, he was living in Miami and played it as the sun set on a humid summer night. The album was originally released in 1986, picking up steam when its tracks were sampled by Björk, Nujabes and To Rococo Rot, among others. The surge in interest gave Masin's music a new life, and coaxed the Venetian producer out of a decade-long hiatus; since 2001, he's released an array of new material, collaborating with PAN's Lifted and opening for Oneohtrix Point Never. Foat couldn't forget the impact of 'Wind' and knew the duo needed to collaborate, recording with Masin remotely between 2021 and 2022 and using a grand piano, vibraphone and vintage synths to contrast with Masin's electric piano improvisations, sounds from his digital library and an old iPad. The result is 'Dolphin', an album of jazz-flecked fusions that combine Foat's library music literacy with Masin's own sample-fodder tendencies - it's hardly surprising that at any moment, the album sounds like a crate digger's wet dream.
On the more richly orchestrated tracks like 'Love Theme', it's hard not to imagine the duo's dusted loops woven into a Madlib track or underpinning a DOOM acapella - it's just that kind of groove. Cosgrove's swirling flutes coalesce perfectly with Foat's fluid piano runs, and Herbert and Boyd's rhythm section offers the track the backbone it requires; Masin patiently ushers the track towards the sublime, wrenching it from library repetition with electric piano shimmers and no small amount of hope. Lead single 'Viento Calido' is another jazzy highlight, edging towards '70s Italian sleaze with its echoing choral wails and Foat's proggy piano parts, while the generous 'Sabena' is a touching ambient tribute to Masin's wife, who died last year. Lovely.