Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if Robert Glasper, Quincy Jones and Teri Lyne Carrington collaborated to write and produce an organic, dramatic chill-out album in Wales? Neither had I, but the answer is right here, and it’s compelling. From the highly regarded Edition Records stable curated by Dave Stapleton, the eponymous debut album from Slowly Rolling Camera presents a cinematic soundtrack to your life in slow motion. I listened to it at home first, and then a few days later whilst driving through England’s Peak District. It was better in the car, especially when the title track emerged majestically as I summited a hill, cruised past a sunken lake, and rode the road around a valley with the setting Cheshire sun.
The album carries itself with an unhurried grace, propelled by lazy grooves in 4, 6, 11 and 5. The lyrical content is banal, so one can’t help thinking that Dionne Bennett’s superb vocals could have shone more brightly given superior text to sing. The instruments on the album sound truly wonderful, especially the piano, double bass, bowed strings and Fender Rhodes – full marks to producer Deri Roberts here. There are examples of superb, dynamic soloing from Chris Montague (guitar), Mark Lockheart (saxes) and Elliot Bennett (drums), but the more poised ensemble moments carry the day: stand-out tracks include Two Roads, Bridge and the album’s coda, Silent Song.
With Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner winning a Grammy, the virtuosic, multi-genre, large-ensemble album format appears to be experiencing a resurgence in 2014. Here’s hoping some well-deserved attention falls to SRC. Slowly Rolling Camera is well worth a listen. And another. And then another.