LIVE REVIEW: Flying Machines @ The Jazz Café (28.2.17) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

On 28th February listeners poured into the dusky warmth of The Jazz Café to share a moment of progressive musical intimacy with one of the UK’s hottest jazz bands: Flying Machines. As soon as the quartet opened their first set the conviviality of the room was infused with mystical lyricism — an evocation of unadulterated nature — and the urban grit of New York jazz, tied together and covered in a layer of scientific detachment.

Initiated by guitarist Alex Munk as a way to explore original composition, Flying Machines took inspiration from Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan and jazz-rock guitarist Wayne Krantz. These, however, remain mere hints in the band’s creation of a unique sound. A sound that combines wrenching melodies with upbeat improvisation and discordant harmonies, while incorporating modal and rhythmic variance and minimalist keyboard passages.

The name of the band was chosen as a tribute to Munk’s father, the airship engineer Roger Munk. During performance, the gentle, yet every-changing nature of air floated in and out of songs like Tracks, Bliss Out and Lighter than Air. Moon Dust, in its depiction of slow drifting in a state of weightlessness, was especially evocative and had the power to transport the audience to a whole different sphere. Other classical elements abounded too: Emotional Math Metal, loudly applauded by the audience, was a display of fiery virtuosic guitar-playing, and you could feel the viscous earth trudged through the rhythm section’s steady groove in a Long Walk Home.

Despite moments when otherwise compelling compositions faded into sonic déjà-vu, Flying Machines’s ability to mould and transform the character of their instruments, their down-to-earth stage presence and dedication to their craft were enough to engage seasoned jazz listeners and novices alike.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout