Boomkat Product Review:
Duval Timothy’s piano music grows in stature and sprawling ideas with this mix of odes to Mahler and electro-acoustic/concrète evocations of the landscapes to England, Italy, and West Africa, featuring guest input by Fauzia, Yu Su, Vegyn and Lamin Fofana
‘Meeting With a Judas Tree’ is Timothy’s first solo album since 2020 and a significant way marker on his path thus far, which has snaked from Freeport, Sierra Leone, to London, UK. Recorded 2019-22, it expands on ideas from his early pursuit of brooding avant-jazz on 2016’s introductory ‘Brown Loop’ LP, and the more angular experiments of his first sides on personal imprint Carrying Colour, to a vivid blend of inspirations and a broader emotive palette put to canvas with raw finesse.
Capturing his feelings in his South London home studio, plus the Carrying Colour studio in Freetown, the Old Police Statin in Rotherhithe, and Casa Mahler in Spolete, Umbria, the recordings share a immediate vivacity and emphasis on texture that serve to heighten the emotive grip of his work. ‘Plunge’ is a case in point, makign use of an auld upright in Freetown whose palettes had lost their felt due to humidity, and lending the piece a quality of Lonnie Holley’s blues, while the smeared electronics and electric guitar licks amplify the aching cadence, and also in ‘Mutate’ whose cascading discord recalls the uneasy dreampop of A.R. Kane.
But a big attraction in the record lies with Timothy’s feel for balancing raw and lofty ideas, as with the mix of warbling effects applied to stately Mahler-esque figures and field recording made with his mum in the hills outside Bath on ‘Up’, and his ability to to seamlessly bring others not the vibe, as on the utopian promise of ‘Wood’ featuring piano and synth by Yu Su, and Vegyn co-production, or the subtle disturbances of Fauzia in ‘Thunder’ that edge the piece close to Klein’s most enigmatic. The final sequence ‘Drift’ with Lamin Fofana is an ideal curtain closer, brimming with an brooding but unresolved quality that recalls his Mahler inspiration via The Caretaker and a sea of natural world inspiration that gives it a beautifully in-between worlds headiness.