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Animalia

Animalia

15 Sep 2014
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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  • Sample this album
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1
6:07
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2
2:37
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3
5:15
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4:37
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4:29
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5:52
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3:14
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8
7:46
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 15 Sept. 2014
  • Release Date: 15 Sept. 2014
  • Label: Gondwana Records
  • Total Length: 39:57
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00MKXKVRM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,662 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It's no surprise that the live gigs of newcomers Mammal Hands caught the ears of Nick Blacka (bass player with trio-of-the-moment GoGo Penguin) – subsequently recommending them to Gondwana Records boss Matthew Halsall who duly signed them to his growing catalogue of new artists – for there’s more than a hint of Blacka’s band in this, their resulting debut release, 'Animalia', as well as echoes of early Portico Quartet. Yet their style is also defined by elements of electronica, classical minimalism, dance, Africana, and Indian classical, creating a richly creative blend which can, in equal measure, both move and excite.

The strong Norwich-based trio comprises brothers Nick Smart (piano) and Jordan Smart (saxes), with Jesse Barratt on drums and tabla – their eight original compositions here very much on-trend with the current wave of eclectic, democratically-conceived contemporary jazz ensembles. And what a compelling first outing this is.

Eschewing the traditional double bass element doesn’t, as one might expect, result in imbalance, thanks to the solid-chorded/octaved rhythmic piano of Nick Smart. Indeed, opener 'Mansions of Millions of Years' – with influences and moods that might suggest e.s.t., Reich, Glass and Satie, as well as a raga pulse and energy – displays the impassioned intent of this one-time busking band, Jordan Smart’s escalating soprano sax whirling and crying over the busyness of piano and drums. The three players clearly share an empathy in composition and performance, delivering a varied sound world – the brief and more contemplative 'Snow Bough' spacially glinting to falling piano and sax melodies which possess delightful Japanese koto-like clarity.
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Format: Audio CD
Animalia is a breath-takingly beautiful record. Maybe I'm out of touch here but I haven't heard anything this good in the field of jazz since the early 70's when I was a big Alice Coltrane and Soft Machine fan. So much has been achieved by a three piece here, I can't hear any overdubs but the sound is full and gloriously warm. The interwoven sax and piano melodies kept me afloat throughout with the pace rising and falling just when it needed to. Animalia is also a percussive masterpiece, it's so intricate and adeptly performed I'm left with the impression of one of those artists who make sculptures so small they can sit on a pin head.

There must be something in the water in the city of Norwich, it's thrown up yet another truly superb outfit, Takeda, Discharge Lounge and Andrew Taylor's Mohribold have already got me excited. Gondwana Records must be worth a dig too because if Mammal Hands are anything to go by there be treasure.

I'll listen to Animalia a lot, it's a very well deserved 5 stars. I recommend buying this one.
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Concurring with previous and first reviewer. Happened upon this by chance and glad I did. Incredible stuff. Clarity of instrumentation and composition is a joy to behold, this hits the freeform spots that only jazz can.
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unusual
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good easy listening
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