Guitarist Rik Wright forges a fusion of multiple expressions on his debut album Blue with his quartet Fundamental Forces. The soundscapes build a breeding ground for seamless transitions similarly to the way a bard yarns a cohesive and meaningful story. The motifs are sonically pleasing and the harmonic forms carve out evolving stages and intervals of symbiotic patterns. These characteristics are shown from the start with the opening track “Mood Ring” welding agreeable arrangements and displaying cooperation among the quartet that is thought-provoking.
The dotted pattern of Wright’s guitar chords move parallel to James Dejoie’s saxophone along select intervals of “Butterfly Effect.” Additionally, each instrument improvises serpentine swells which give the track distinct nuances and distinguishable passages as the horn furls into a series of undulating spires. The rhythm section of bassist Geoff Harper and drummer/percussionist Greg Campbell adapt to the mood with a supportive groove. Dejoie changes to the bass clarinet in “Nonchalant” and like the title suggests, the instruments move in a nonchalant manner. The languid gait has a creamy texture and puts the listener in a reposing state of mind. It’s a track that does not follow the regiments of one particular genre but explores melodic formations entirely crafted by the quartet’s own imagination and sense of coordination.
“Parting Ways” takes the recording into an eclectic realm with an overture of echoing effects that cull an Asian accent. Dejoie plays the flute in this number entwining swizzles with an eastern flare sprinting across the rhythm section. The flute withdraws when Wright’s guitar takes center stage. Back and forth, Dejoie and Wright go alternating their parts and focusing the listener’s attention on their passages. At the close, the flute and the guitar come together in unison. The mournful ambience of “Miss Thing” is embodied in the pensive tone and slow strides of the guitar. Dejoie’s saxophone enters a little ways into the track sprinkling the melodic progressions with freestyle twirls that inject texture and contrast to the mournful atmospherics. The meaningful input of Dejoie’s saxophone lashes out with sparks of improvisation giving the tune depth while spurring Wright’s guitar to branch out in a similar manner. Human vulnerability is emoted through the passages and concludes with both instruments coming together in a warm embrace.
Each track is an individual narrative forged by the quartet. Sometimes the stories are easy going like in “Nonchalant” and other times human vulnerability is illustrated vividly like in “Miss Thing.” Melodic flow is prevalent in each track as the instruments flow smoothly even during the freestyle improvisations. Wright’s quartet is an example of how individual expressionism can be an asset in forming melodic soundscapes.
Rik Wright – guitar, James Dejoie – saxophone, clarinet, and flute, Geoff Harper – bass, and Greg Campbell – drums and percussions
Mood Ring, Butterfly Effect, Nonchalant, Parting Ways, Miss Thing