Track: Ishmael Ensemble – ‘Morning Chorus’: Bristol collective sans frontières deliver intelligence and lushness

Peter Cunningham of Ishmael Ensemble, photographed by David Koch

BRISTOL jazz explorers Ishmael Ensemble are flexing their embouchures and are ready to step on and out from their acclaimed debut set from two years back, A State of Flow, a love letter to jazz and the capital of the South West, pushing out into dub, the dancefloor, ambient and more.

The new album is out in early August, is entitled Visions Of Light, and the Pete Cunningham-led collective has just dropped a second teaser single, “Morning Chorus”, which you can hear below.

Beautifully sans frontières, “Morning Chorus” begins in the light call of flute and skipping, fuzzy and restless electronica rhythms, before unfolding in the tightly multitracked vocals of Chris Hillier and what appears to be a little harp motif. It’s cool, adventurous, very Bristolian in its intelligent marriage of musics – one to glide down the Gloucester Road at sunset to – and when the brass swells and Pete finally unleashes a throaty sax essay, you know you’re in the presence of real creativity.

We’re promised that Visions Of Light sees a reimagining of just what an ensemble can do; a shifting collective, far-ranging, ambitious, producing deeply emotional music.

Side A draws from the energy Pete Cunningham and his bandmates discovered while touring the first album; while the obverse finds Pete taking a more collaborative and overarching production role.

The album was put together across Bristol, in Frome, Somerset, and down on the north Cornish coast in Polzeath.

Expect much thought and pleasure from the band which Mary Anne Hobbs said produces “… a deeply arresting sound from one of our favourite cities, simply beautiful.

Ishmael Ensemble’s Visions of Light will be released by Severn Songs digitally, on a strictly limited (50) run of CDs and on vinyl on August 6th, and is available to pre-order now at Bandcamp.

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