Boomkat Product Review:
Sun-dappled, rhythmelodic jazz lilt by UK instrument builder and player Bex Burch, gently firming her sound alongside members of Tortoise and the contemporary Chicago jazz fraternity after working with everyone from Sarathy Korwar to Evelyn Glenie and Peter Zummo - strong references for her breezy, open-window sound
“There is only love and fear is the sound of Bex Burch in communion with some of the finest sonic communicators in International Anthem’s extended family. These include woodwind player Rob Frye, who gave Burch a tour of the Illinois Audubon Society’s Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary the day after she arrived in Chicago. Also Tortoise drummer Dan Bitney and Ben LaMar Gay, who both took Burch through her first few days in the studio, tuning into her communicative harmonics and responding with their own. And double bassist Anna Butterss and violinist Macie Stewart, who participated separately but both became key collaborators in the album’s post-production, accenting their respective string improvisations with additional sounds remotely recorded per Burch’s direction. Everyone on this record is highly skillful, a rare talent, but drawn together by Burch they were invited to inhabit something even more extraordinary: their most open selves, requested only to bring the sounds they liked – or even needed – in the moment of recording.
“What has come through in this album,” she says, “is a more domestic style of music: the simplicity of life and sound-making. The word I’m shy to use is ‘feminine’ but it’s true, and I reclaim it in all its power.”
She describes her sound as “messy minimalism.” The twelve tracks evoke variously the sweet kind of zoning-in that allows the listener access to their own feelings; the generative meditations of First Thought, Best Thought-era Arthur Russell; Vivaldi or Laurie Anderson – if they’d been ultra-gentle satellite reflections of Chicago’s minimalist and avant-garde music histories.
Burch has previously released as part of Boing! with Leafcutter John, and with the critically acclaimed Strut-released Flock with Londoners including Sarathy Korwar and The Comet Is Coming’s Danalogue. She also runs the band and label Vula Viel and has collaborated with artists from Peter Zummo to Dame Evelyn Glennie.”