Category: By the bug

It's hardly surprising that Leeds-based outfit 7 Hertz have done soundtrack work, in fact their debut album 'Tender, Almost Vulgar' is just about as close you can get to a film soundtrack without being tacked onto a Kieslowski movie. The band is made up of three ladies on violin and clarinet and a feller on double bass and between the four of them they improvise wildly incorporating influence from their wide-reaching musical backgrounds. Indeed they reference free-experimental music, jazz, punk and of course classical music, but the distillation of all these sounds comes down to something quite different to any expectations you might have. The album was recorded in a disused church in Leeds, so their keen ear for acoustic space and recording method without a doubt stands high above their tracks, However just as you're getting absorbed into the epic church reverb you realise just how unusual the music is - sitting somewhere in-between the kind of experimental hiccup of Mr. Bungle and the glorious atmospherics of Max Richter with a bit of Klezmer thrown in for good measure. Opener 'Chicken of the Woods' takes us whole-heartedly into the band's world with humorous licks set against drooping bass before launching into a screeching post-jazz finale with the clarinet taking centre-stage. Elsewhere we get plucky double-bass surrealism with the feisty funk of 'My New Favourite Joke' and then later on the surprise vocal-led smokiness of 'Ob Savi' and 'Seasick Suite'. For ambition you have to hand it to the band, but the fact they pull off the feat and come out the other side with an album which somehow holds together in a gloriously coherent whole is astonishing. Albums such as this shouldn't work on an independent level, but 7 Hertz have managed the unmanageable, I'd hazard a guess that they'll be scoring Eastern European art films within the next year or so. Quite stunning...


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