Boomkat Product Review:
Having long operated in orbit of the Cotton Goods label and it's constellation of related artists and labels, Thomas Shrubsole dilates definitions of his music with a sprawling solo debut of improvisations under his own name after years trading under various guises and in groups with Craig Tattersall (The Boats), and Jonny Russell (The Dissolving Orchestra). Highly Recommended if yr into Vincent Gallo, Moondog, Derek Bailey...
Coining his Parenthetical Activities label with ‘Themes and Variations’, Shrubsole reveals a series of acoustic snapshots recorded between 2011-2013. They range from Moondog to Sun Ra-esque jazz strains and Derek Bailey-ish free expressions, perpetually daring to intuitively head off on tangents and unafraid to challenge the listener to follow him, but only ever with a curious sense of playfulness, and not experimental obnoxiousness for the sake of it.
The majority of the set is given to works over 10 minutes in length (the album runs over 2hrs total), with each presented as-is and effectively capturing his mind in quiet flight from the charmingly glassy tinkle of ‘Instant Ellipsis’ to most barely-there, lower case gestures in ‘Jewels Of Obliquity’, remaining porous to all manner of freeness in ’Spectral Interior’ and the nerve-tickling dissonance of ‘Prismatic Obscurity’ in a softly uncompromising manner that’s going to win him new followers on top of anyone into his earlier, mostly field recording efforts.
RIYL Henry Caravan, Moondog, Sun Ra