Indifference Culture EP - CD
Indifference Culture EP - CD
1 – Non-verbal Language (Tom Farmer)
2 – Persephone (Lewis Wright)
3 – Jebel Barkal (Shaney Forbes)
4 – The Master (Lewis Wright)
5 – Indifference Culture (Tom Farmer)
6 – Celestial Being (Shaney Forbes)
Recorded 15/16 December 2017 at RAK Studios
Mixed by Alex Bonney and Empirical
Mastered by Pete Beckmann at Technology Works
Artwork by Julia Soboleva
Produced by Empirical
Award-winning UK jazz quartet Empirical, featuring Nathaniel Facey (alto saxophone), Tom Farmer (double bass), Shaney Forbes (drums) and Lewis Wright (vibraphone), announce a follow-up to their acclaimed 2016 studio album Connection with a two-part, limited edition EP release.
Marking the first release under the band’s own label, Empirical Music, the two sets, entitled Indifference Culture and Distraction Tactics, are as much testament to Empirical’s journey since Connection, as they are a reaction to the ‘new normal’ of the world in 2018.
The EPs take the names of two compositions by Tom Farmer that comment on the twin societal evils of the rise of social media-induced narcissism and diminishing empathy for our fellow human beings – trends that leave us ill-equipped to take on the orchestrators of today’s culture wars who seek to distract us with a constant stream of fake news and unprecedented political scandal.
Indifference Culture, the first of the two EPs to be released, sets the tone with the anxious aggressiveness of the up-tempo post-bop ‘Non-verbal language’ (Tom Farmer), a reflection on the dangerous dehumanising potential of electronic communications – from Tweeting politicians to personal relationships conducted by proxy via mobile phone.
This nervous energy is countered by the languid melodious beauty of ‘Persephone’ (Lewis Wright) that allows itself a momentary lament before the haunting theme resolves into a defiant cry of inner strength.
Evoking ancient African drum chorus and chant, Shaney Forbes’ solo drum improvisation ‘Jebel Barkal’ is a contemplation on Sudan’s Sacred Mountain, the scene of the coronation of the ancient Nubian rulers.
Wright’s ‘The Master’ slowly unfolds with a sense of mystery that questions the machinations behind what’s visible and seemingly obvious as Wright’s vibraphone, employing the instrument’s fast-motor setting to eerie effect, and Forbes’ marching drums take centre-stage.
The title track ‘Indifference Culture’, described by Farmer as a reminder that ‘we should all be a bit nicer to each other’, is an unexpectedly gentle ballad that delivers the exact antidote to the culture of uncaring decried by the title. Expressing this sentiment musically, the composition requires all four band members to play in a constantly supportive role to each other.
Indifference Culture closes with Shaney Forbes’ ‘Celestial Being’, a life-affirming tour de force that contrasts explosive energy with delicate intricacy. As Forbes explains: ‘This piece is an imagination of how detailed yet profound a message of such a Celestial Being is to people on Earth. We conjure up the effect of the force of their presence and act as a vehicle for transporting this message as comrades of the Celestial Being.’
EP 2 Distraction Tactics, slated for release in spring 2019, continues the exploration of these themes, while bringing to the fore the Empirical’s ever-growing improvisational prowess.
Retaining the band’s quartet format throughout, the EPs succeed to the greatest degree yet in capturing the exhilarating intensity and exceptional virtuosity that Empirical’s live performance has become known for.
This is no coincidence: since its wildly successful 2016 pilot, the band’s unique ‘Pop-up Jazz Lounge’ residency project has seen Empirical perform 130 live sets to more than 8,000 unsuspecting commuters and shoppers in London, Berlin, Birmingham and Cheltenham.
While such a musical marathon is not for the faint-hearted, for Empirical it presented a much-relished opportunity to experiment with new musical ideas during live performance. As Tom Farmer recalls the recording process: ‘We went into the studio soon after one of our pop-up residencies. After such an intense run of gigs we were completely fired up and it was a case of ‘’let’s just play!’’’
For a band as committed to improvisation as Empirical, this is the ultimate way of creating music as Shaney Forbes explains: ‘Even though the four us have been playing music together for more than ten years, we are still always excited to explore the creative possibilities that come out of our instrumentation and the fact that all four of us contribute to the music. It actually feels like we’ve only just begun that exploration.’
With the political upheaval of the world showing no sign of abating, one suspects that Empirical are unlikely to run out of source material any time soon.
Indifference Culture will be released on 16th November 2018 to coincide with Empirical’s concert on opening night of the 2018 EFG London Jazz Festival at the Purcell Room.
The release of Distraction Tactics is planned for spring 2019 – date to be announced.
For further information and interview requests please contact:
Claudia Kuss-Tenzer, Oblique Music Management, London, UK
Tel: +44 (0)7960 279 993 Email: to be inserted