Greg Foat / Symphonie Pacifique / Strut

The string-soaked sonics of Symphonie Pacifique, Greg Foat`s new long-player for Strut, appropriately sketch a blue-skied beach somewhere in the tropics – as drums and percussion, breakbeats and bongos, attempt to keep up with Greg`s keys. Big chords, followed by smaller flourishes. As if in a game of tag on a run to the sun. A vibe best exemplified by the conga and contra-bass-led track, Island Life – an archipelago where the Ahmad Jamal Trio meets Japan’s Coastlines. 

The music pays tribute to KPM library composers such as Brian Bennett, John Cameron, Francis Coppieters, Alan Hawkshaw, Keith Mansfield, Alan Moorhouse, Alan Parker, and Duncan Lamont. The latter getting his own lament. Where acoustic guitar, shimmering cymbals, and sultry sax, summon the folk / jazz of Terry Callier on Cadet. The ensemble’s damn fine skills making the whole thing fly as funky as fuck – and also appear effortless. Orchestral interludes – slow patient swoons of prayer-like calm – separate suites of subtle vocal harmonies and synthesizer riffs – which chime, echo, and swirl in reverb. Horns and reeds honk. Their players` fleet fingers hammering out clusters of ever-climbing notes. Yonaguni hits an almost house rhythm. A bad-b-lined groove that’s a fusion of New York`s Muse and London’s Acid Jazz. Nikinakinu features tight, electric Herbie Hancock-esque keyboard runs backed, encouraged by blasts of massed brass.

The delicate picking that accompanies the piano rippling on Pointe Venus recalls a sun dappled Burt Bacharach score. Following outlaws as they cross the border into Tijuana. Man Vs. Machine pits Moses Boyd`s battery against a cool kosmische pulse. Mediation On Pedal Steel is a Vini Reilly-esque atmosphere. 

Mothers Love mixes harp with head-nodding boom bap. The slide from the previous track still adding detail, while more horns sound on the horizon. Their spiral shouts escaping to the stratosphere, sending out vapour trails – like Pharoah Sander`s Astral Traveling inspiring Primal Scream`s I`m Coming Down. All before Three Tenors intertwine in a free-floating beatless finale of circular breathing. 


Greg Foat`s Symphonie Pacifique is released, care of Strut, on July 3rd. If you can hold off on ordering until then, on that day Bandcamp are once again waiving their fees – furthering their support of artists in this on-going time of crisis.

Reference Links

Ahmad Jamal Trio
Duncan Lamont
Terry Callier
Herbie Hancock
Acid Jazz
Burt Bacharach 
Vini Reilly
Pharoah Sanders
Primal Scream

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