Listening to music at work: Steve Lawson and Pete Fraser – ‘Intersect’

It can be difficult finding music to listen to while working. Whatever I play, it sets a mood and either lowers energy or raises it. Sometimes a piece of music will inspire, sometimes it will distract.

This week I’m listening to Intersect, the new album by Steve Lawson.

steve lawson, music, bury st edmunds, graphic design“The UK’s most celebrated bass player”, who has supported Level 42 and played house gigs with a vast array of accomplices,  is joined by Pete Fraser on saxophone, leaving Lawson to play everything else (“Bass, percussion/synth/strangeness/looping/sonic manipulation”).

On his Bandcamp page, Lawson sums up the collaboration –

“The result of a single day in the studio – the only time we’ve actually met – this is the unedited (just mixed and mastered) result: we’ve changed the order, and moved the 5th thing we recorded into its own subscriber only release, but this is what we did. The whole conversation here for you to enjoy. “

The conversation starts with Crust. By the way, all the titles are bread making terms inspired by Fraser’s dough-based culinary forays. I’m not sure how the titles influence the music, but I’m sure all will become clear on the other end of a bottle of merlot and the 73rd listening. Or maybe not. Sometimes a title is just a title. Crust is a complex recipe of jazz, electronic and ambient ingredients, stirred into a Bitches Brew.

The next track is entitled Autolysis (“the destruction of cells or tissues by their own enzymes”). The underlying, perhaps randomised, pattern of tones propels the piece as Fraser decorates and plays in between string tones and other noises. Prove, rhymes with groove, not coincidentally I’m sure. Melodious sax, meandering synths and tortured guitars add to the mix. Slash Patterns (referring to the marks made in the top of the crust*) eases in to end the collection with moody, dark, pulsating tones punctuated with bass rhythms. Fraser arrives a little later with long, Davis-like colours. The fourth track is a beautiful way to end a fascinating conversation.

Rather than a background to other thoughts, Intersect sounds more like a companion to my work day, inspiring and conjuring ideas, motivation and energy. Today will be a team effort. Thanks for your help, Mr Lawson.

Intersect is available for purchase and download from Bandcamp

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