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GARY BAMFORD_the_unbinding_COVER.jpg
The Unbinding
(2018 - Kintu Records - UK)

 From the intro that brings the ghost of Stravinsky back, to eerie ambience, beautiful string quintet pieces, shrilling near saw mill inserts, jazz bop interludes, piano based string heaven (one with siren vocals by Susannah Bevington - 'Lillian's Story, Part 1' - Track #8), church organ ceremony (one begins with the only extended cut - 'Contract With The Devil' - Track #18), suspense soaked parts, industrial mystery, and drifting orchestration, this soundtrack release from Gary Bamford is very dramatic at times, then curious, and alternately gorgeous.

This is a bit different to his previous soundtrack work 'An Account Of A Savage' (2017), which was another (his first) collaboration with Wrong Shoes Theatre Company. It is, however, the same in that it is an edited, remixed and remastered version of the soundtrack. The piece (devised from historical accounts of witches from Wiltshire and other areas) tells the story of four women accused of witchcraft, locked up in a church basement, waiting for their sentence. Gary's score is wonderfully expressive of this storyline. Without even watching the stage performance of it, the music tells you all that is going on. That's the skill of a highly versatile composer and thinker, such as Bamford has proven to be over the many years, and sides, of music styles he has mastery over.

Produced, recorded, edited, mixed, composed, and performed by Bamford, this is his 6th album (he has a few golden nugget singles on Bandcamp as well). The physical package is a nice 6 panel digipak,  with still shots of scenes from the theatrical work inside. Looking at those and listening to the recording is quite an aural/visual experience. One with spark and emotions. Varied and often with unpredictable trepidation and unease, keeping the listener in the moment. From his ECM like gentle albums, to his innovative jazz rock (see my review of his Gary Bamford Trio 'God, Love and Other Myths' - 2017), and then his soundtrack talents, the sweet talent is both obvious and respectable. More people need to know about him and his music. Bamford's history is vast, and his keyboard skills are superb! His ability to write great parts for multiple instruments is impressive and this new soundtrack proves more of that fact. 'The Unbinding' is musical imagery at its best.

   ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 5 - 30 - 2019  
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