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The Face Of Mount Molehill CD


Price: £10.97 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Amazon's Neil Cowley Trio Store

Music

Image of album by Neil Cowley Trio

Photos

Image of Neil Cowley Trio

Biography

The Neil Cowley Trio look, superficially, like a jazz trio, in that they comprise three men making noises on a grand piano (Cowley), a drum kit (Evan Jenkins) and a double bass (newbie recruit Rex Horan). But these noises rarely sound like jazz. Their fourth album, The Face Of Mount Molehill, features power pop songs without words, soundtracks in search of a film, exploratory minimalist ... Read more in Amazon's Neil Cowley Trio Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Jan. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naim Jazz
  • ASIN: B0062XCCDM
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,785 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Lament
2. Rooster Was A Witness
3. Fable
4. Meyer
5. Skies Are Rare
6. Mini Ha Ha
7. Slims
8. Distance By Clockwork
9. The Face Of Mount Molehill
10. Hope Machine
11. La Porte
12. Sirens Last Look Back

Product Description

Product Description

Cementing his position as a dazzling composer of extraordinary talent, Cowley and his trio scale the gargantuan summit of Mount Molehill where they explore the heights of everyday trivia, and score it to a soaring overture of epic proportions. Nourishing his fondness for grand, commanding sounds, Cowley has begun a love affair with orchestration. Having spent the past year writing and arranging specifically for his trio and strings, he records, for the first time ever, with a string ensemble. The music is expansive, dynamic and deeply engaging. With the addition of soundscape textures from guitarist Leo Abrahams, (renowned for his collaborative work with Brian Eno) the Face of Mount Molehill represents a substantial shift in direction. Comprising 12 original tracks, the album takes the listener on an exciting musical journey from pomp and splendour to poignant, lyrical episodes; from sprightly and whimsical to powerful, rhythmic melodies. It would be far too simplistic to slot this thrilling music into the jazz pigeonhole; sure, it is instrumental but these songs without words have the power to break down standard perceptions of genre. Their sheer emotion and energy touch lovers of all music. The Neil Cowley Trio are known for their remarkable and engaging live performances, which always maintain a quirky sense of humour at their core.

BBC Review

The preferred way to judge this album might be to view it beside pianist Neil Cowley’s existing output. He must have been wondering where he was heading next, after refining a particularly hectic form of prog-jazz riffing. Now, Cowley’s calmed down. Most listeners will expect a return to the nervy, dense, and struttingly compressed melodies of his first three recordings.

The trio’s leader has evidently chosen a certain degree of simplicity. This session is more relaxed, with far fewer events on its horizon. Cowley’s compositions are even less conventionally jazzy than before, but they’re also not massively bloated by a rock or classical diet either: it’s as if Michael Nyman was operating a jazz piano trio. There’s minimalism, but it’s the minimalism of sheer melodic space, and a refreshing sort of simplicity. Another way of developing further is to add a dramatic string section, and to doctor his own piano sound with ambient effects, often as if its interior reverb has been magnified. The guesting guitarist Leo Abrahams also thickens up the atmospheres.

Cowley might be trying to turn his instrument into a harpsichord; there’s that kind of jangling attack. Following a gentle opener, the second tune, Rooster Was a Witness, does indeed feature a slight return to prog bounding; but this time around, the beats are predominantly metronomic and driving. During the course of the album, there’s a single solo apiece from each trio member, at least in the traditional jazz manner. It could be said that Cowley is continually soloing inside his tunes, but the bass (courtesy of new member Rex Horan) and drums mostly keep to a sturdy backbone role.

Occasionally, the style rests at the brink of retro-kitsch, but seemingly intended with high seriousness: epic doings, sometimes twitching, jolting or rolling. Cowley is mostly aiming for a more linear interpretation of jazz, subtler in its dynamics. On a couple of tracks – Mini Ha Ha, and the title-track – Cowley utilises jittering samples at the irritatingly primitive end of the range. The impish chortles and robot stutters are neither 1980s antique nor modern minimal: they just end up sounding clumsily dated and unintentionally odd when surrounded by such lush strings. It’s likely that all of these traits are deliberate, but it’s not so certain that Cowley’s taste-making always succeeds, despite the overall optimistic vitality of his tunes.

--Martin Longley

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chris Weavers on 11 Feb. 2012
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Great melodies here offset nicely by the strings. Only downside is the track Mini Ha Ha which has a most irritating (baby?) sound affect on it and jars after the excellent preceding tracks (Damm it's playing now )
Tempted to dock one star but will settle for reburning this to CD with this track at the end !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on 1 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Another great album from the Neil Cowley trio. Can't wait til the concert in March when we will get to hear and feel all the magic that you just can't get onto a CD.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By MattMatic on 23 Jan. 2012
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
I'm on my third playing already and it's only half past eleven on the day of release!!

The Face of Mount Molehill has combined the energy from previous NCT albums - Rooster Was A Witness and the title track being prime examples - yet has some achingly beautiful melodies that give me the goosebumps.

The addition of strings, and other subtle additions (see the "Making Of" video on the NCT web site!) has added another dimension to the superb trio. Some parts take me back to Neil's Pretz album.

The opening "Lament", "Meyer", "Skies Are Rare" ooze with lovely strings - there are hints of Einaudi piano + cello. Hugely uplifting!

Have to say I'm having a little trouble digesting "Fable" with its dischords, and the laughing on "Mini Ha Ha" track is creepy! LOL! Having seen the video there's definitely some Neil Cowley fun and a trifle madness behind the tracks.
UPDATE: Actually, "Fable" is seriously growing on me!!

Top stuff from the trio - toe tapping, head rocking, heart lifting, jazz goodness :-)

...now to see if I can get to any of the gigs!

WARNING: Amazon have _two_ versions of the MP3 album - one has an extra track!! Wish I had noticed this before :-(
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. David P. Hopkins on 7 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Simply an amazing album by simply an amazing. Has quickly become the theme tune to most to most of my current waking life. While I've heard and liked few Trio artists (EST band plus ect.) they tend to after a while end up being hard to differentiate and occasionally nearing towards easy listing material. Neil Cowley Trio however continues to produce ever more distinctive, innovative and beautiful tracks that even after several listens I am picking out more and more detail in the composition. I look forward to their next project with anticipation.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By The Soft Machine Operator TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Jan. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an absolutely stunning album from the Neil Cowley trio, this time augmented by strings and guitars.

Musically, the tunes are based around memorable and catchy piano riffs with hints of urgent, rocky rhythms (Such as on Fables) and plenty of build ups to crescendos that then fall away. In amongst this there are gentle, almost pastoral passages, such as the opening track, Lament. Pace and direction change quite often within the songs.

The addition of strings gives the album a classical feel, and fits in well with the dramatic tunes.
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By geoant on 20 Feb. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Never heard of this band before, but heard one track and the I knew I had to have this CD
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A new bass player but still the usual excellence coming through from this Trio. The only thing better than this Trio's recordings is hearing them live.
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