"If this is jazz, it’s de-cluttered, minimal and atmospheric, with an Enoesque approach to melody." Clive Bell, The Wire
Lund Quartet are an instrumental band from Bristol. Five years in the making,their unique approach to music blends the space of the Scandinavian Jazz scene with the creative opportunities of subtle turntablism. These highly skilled players seek a careful balance between precision and improvisation, combining the power of a jazz piano trio with the solo recordings of specially recorded performances of local musicians, both straight and scratched.
Lund Quartet consist of the self-taught Simon Adcock on piano and theremin, hip hop producer Jake Wittlin on turntable, and the dub, ska and drum ‘n’ bass influenced Rob Childs and Sam Muscat on double bass and drums. In 2010, they decided to dedicate themselves to the Lund Quartet by renting out an industrial unit in a car mechanic’s yard and building their own studio, with materials and equipment scavenged from skips and willing friends. This ability to build from the most diverse of sources is at the heart of the Lund Quartet manifesto.
At ease with technology, their compositions often form around the recording of a hypnotic groove, then inviting someone to play over it. This is then chopped up, sampled and replayed through the turntable. Check out a beautifully filmed live version of ‘Sequoia’ on YouTube to see this almost effortless process at work. A rhythmic pulse of the double bass. A train-trackdrum pattern and an emotional sweep of piano keys. Then along come the gloriously plaintive Afro horns, distorted and scratched.
Already making radio waves from Gilles Peterson on Radio 1 to Radio 3’s Late Junction, Lund Quartet are taking their sound to a wider world of jazz, hip hop and electronica. In a dark corner of your soul it might even provoke a feeling of resentment that here is a band that’s just making it look all too easy.
The album is available as a CD and digital download. For more information, including live videos of the band in the studio see www.lundquartet.com
Please get in touch if you would like a CD or a code to download the album. HD broadcast quality versions of the films are available on request.
Photo by Justin Thomas
Photo by Justin Thomas
Photo by Rob Skilton
Photo by Rob Skilton
BBC Music - John Eyles (Oct 2012)
(extract) "Once in a blue moon, a debut album makes it obvious the band in question is exceptional. Thirty seconds into Sequoia, the opening track of Lund Quartet, it is clear this is one such album. Immediately, the listener is drawn into an economic soundscape of piano, bass and drums overlaid with sampled trumpets, which help make it a compelling piece. Owing much to jazz, particularly the sparseness of Scandinavian jazz, it has as clear a debt to the ambient music of Eno as it does to trip-hop. Despite such roots, the end results are unmistakably the quartet’s own. The trio of piano, bass and drums lays down a consistently solid foundation propelled by Muscat’s drumming, with occasional piano flourishes but no prolonged solos. As a piano trio, they would be good if unremarkable. The addition of the samples from Wittlin makes the music unpredictable, fresh and varied, transforming it into something more special. Mostly, those samples are from friends of the group, seven of whom are credited with playing wind instruments or slide guitar. As the credit acknowledges, those friends were “recorded, chopped and scratched”. Whatever the actual process, their instruments are integrated into the music, frequently sounding as if they were playing with the trio in real time. Just as skilfully, on Love’s Madness a sample of the great South African vocalist Miriam Makeba joins the trio, sounding like she is singing along with them; only the occasional bit of trickery gives the game away. As with any successful recipe, the key is using excellent ingredients and combining them correctly. And Lund Quartet do so perfectly"
Q Magazine (Oct 2012)
(extract) "A quartet of jazz players, including a self-taught pianist and turntablist, may conjure images of house bands in boutique hotel cocktail bars, but Lund Quartet have a secret weapon: discretion. Avoiding both "whacka-whacka" scratching pratfalls and over-fussy noodling, they create something more akin to an ambient experiment than a head-nodding hipster love-in. The key lies in the way the music follows the groove, most often the first part that's written, rather than it having to work beneath parping solos, rather like '60s Norman Jay favourite The John Cameron Quartet. Opener Sequoia winds like a sun dappled forest path, the snake-hipped Love's Madness shimmies around a Mirium Makeba sample, and the pensive, hesitant closing track Zill Bell drifts through ambient Eno territory..."
The Wire Magazine (March 2012)
(extract) "A half-Norwegian multi-instrumentalist from Bristol, Simon Adcock’s piano quartet debut indeed has a chilly Scandinavian feel. If this is jazz, it’s de-cluttered, minimal and atmospheric, with an Enoesque approach to melody. But what gives Lund Quartet their edge is the dislocation of turntablism: those trombones and vocals are spun in courtesy of Jake Wittlin‘s vinyl decks. One of the best tracks is ‘Kulde‘: the piano floats over a bed of bass, drums, distant radio and Adcock’s theremin, while splashes of trumpet and clarinet are tossed from the turntable. Adcock’s violin even contributes a string section. Free from soloing as such, each element is marshalled in a team effort to create their seductive overall sound..."
Access All Areas (Sep 2012)
(extract) "Having done some research, I find that Lund Quartet’s slick self-titled release is in actual fact their debut, which I am rather surprised by, given the level of accomplishment that simply oozes off it. This is smooth jazz, but not quite as we know it: for beneath the masterful piano, bass and drums, the rest is a seamless use of turntablism: although credit is due to the musicians sampled, the brass, the vocals, and all the other trappings are provided by one single turntablist, who provides an entire orchestra of sound with which to back the three highly-skilled conventional jazz musicians, to produce an evocative, delectable mix of mellowness, grooves, and sheer enjoyable musicianship..."
Jazzwise (Oct 2012)
(extract) "It's easy to hear the so-called 'Bristol sound' in Lund Quartet's music. From the 1990s onwards, their hometown became famous for mixing hip hop with dub reggae, stirring up the rhythms that eventually became trip hop and drum 'n' bass. Lund Quartet extend the same basic idea by augmenting a melodic Scandinavian-influenced piano trio with loose grooves and Jake Wittlin's subtle turntablism, manipulating specially recorded snatches of some of their Bristolian musician chums playing horns and guitar. The result is a little like Tord Gustavsen being haunted by ghostly fragments of brass and muttered voices..."