Fergus Quill's Noise Ensemble
25 May 2020
Hyde Park Book Club Records & Tight Lines
Album Rating 4 / 5
Live Potential 4.5 / 5
Solo Performances 4.5 / 5
Diversity in Songs 3.5 / 5
Favourite Songs Fate In A Pleasant Mood, Surf's Up Hyde Park, Joshua Ten Thousand
Led by maverick bass player and bandleader Fergus Quill, Leeds ∞tet fiction/non fiction group Fergus Quill's Noise Ensemble have upgraded their debut album's cassette-only release from a year ago to download digitally for our pleasure.
The eponymous album is very loose and has a free-jazz spirit in how little structure there seems to be in most of the songs. Taking inspiration from ragas may explain why that's the case here, but the aim of the ensemble is to make very loud, very emotional music using any compositional technique necessary to make the emotional and visceral connection. Recorded in an overnight session at Eiger Studios, the ensemble features established DIY jazz and indie musicians from Leeds, including members from Joshua Zero, Skwid Ink, Mamilah, Nice People, Sah, Tall Talker, Shaku and Spacey Basement Cult amongst others.
Comprised only of the instruments of the rock and roll rhythm section, 'Vibrational Tuning' kicks off with a slowly crescendoing orgy of sound with the guitars intertwining through the tiny gaps left by the wild drumming. This is the only constant throughout the album really, with the bass providing the underbelly to what feels like complete chaos. 'Surf's Up Hyde Park' honours surf music as it builds up with a palpable energy and is a more dancefloor-ready tune, with the drums particularly hard-hitting here. Quill guides the ensemble with his bass on 'Machine Call To Prayer' as the cymbals shimmer and the guitar effects are used to reach the different dynamic levels for the sonic orgy to continue.
Heavy and intense are certainly correct words to describe the music, in a deeply spiritual vain, but there is plenty of melodic beauty amongst the chaotic flow. 'Fate In A Pleasant Mood' has a crooning guitar riff with a big dollop of reverb that wobbles through in a stunning fashion. The reverb returns prominently in 'Joshua Ten Thousand' but with a nostalgic tinge to it, and does certainly feel less manic compared to other tracks despite still attaining those loose, heavy levels still.
There are moments to gather yourself in between the cacophony of sound, but you do feel as if you are perpetually thrown in into an extraordinarily frenzied kinda psychedelic trip, exemplified no better than the 'Race To' trio of songs. '300BPM' focuses on the stabs, '3000dB' sweatily grinds up against your eardrums, and '30000Hz' is prodded by the menacing bass line and guitar wailing; all songs are overwhelming and are surefire recommendations if you want to hear what having a 'bad trip' could sound like - personally, the intensity excites me. Explaining the record's conception, Quill states:
“The album is the culmination of some half thought out compositions by myself alongside a selection of my friends foolish and brilliant enough to agree to stay up all night to make them happen. Everybody contributed compositionally and emotionally and it was a beautiful experience. The whole record was recorded [...] in a very loud reverberant room and ideally should be listened to in the same environment. I hope whoever ends up listening to this enjoys it and doesn’t just find a meaningless lump of noise.”
Having also led other projects such as Ferg's Imaginary Big Band and being a part of Duhlali and Skwid Ink, this record showcases Fergus Quill's versatility as talented bassist and bandleader. The extremely avant-garde nature of this record epitomises the variety of music coming from the Leeds jazz musicians over the past few years, and we love it.
Buy and stream Fergus Quill's Noise Ensemble here:
Follow fergus Quill's other project Ferg's Imaginary Big Band here: