All About Jazz Review of “Constellations” ****1/2

Karl Latham / Ryan Carniaux / Mark Egan: Constellations (2015)

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Published: March 21, 2015 | 351 views

Karl Latham / Ryan Carniaux / Mark Egan: Constellations

If you happened to be in vitro fed Isao Tomita during your pre-personage, you’re going to recognise Karl Latham’s Constellations electronica subliminally—regardless any jazz/Bjork connections. 70’s Japanese synth/horn, space music trembling has that tendency to unhinge a certain primeval magic. Space music in the 21st Century has less artefacts than the 70s first steppers, and more of the technician’s space time feel of Miles Davis’ electric purview.

Karl Latham suggests that fundamentally there is an air of Miles Davis’ electric period in many of his own compositions, and there is the same play on tension and distortion in Constellations, which includes six original compositions by Latham’s quartet, as well as six impressions of Bjork’s work.

Bjork’s artistry remains abundant in 2015, with art house flirtations at MOMA alongside her latest album, “Vulnicura.” As befits an artist in turmoil, it never hurts to see yourself as others see you (a la Spiegel in Speigel), especially when all is full of love. From the onset Latham sets the scene for his interpretation of Bjork’s work (all taken from her Volta: extra tracks album). His choice of personal compositions and their intriguing titles fit perfectly aside his Bjork interpretations, and the foursome present as proximal a Live Evil experience as is to be expected without the première force majeure of Davis.

“Hope,” the first track starts strikingly with drums, as does the original, and progresses to a lyrical trumpet feature by Ryan Carniaux , which follows the theme but doesn’t replace the “Bjork effect.” For devout Bjork fans, swapping kora for ‘pylonic’ riffs might be a space too far, to stretch a phrase, “It’s all about the space.” “Draco Rexus” is atmospheric electro-snowflake music, Mark Egan provides his signature bass quake and Carniaux is a plausible Davis as firebreathing dragon of the genus Hogwart’s variety, Nick Rolfe adds some nice textures.

“Wanderlust” is full-on Japanese space music, with extra bells and whistles. Drawbar effects warm the proceedings, and Carniaux blends a sound that comes off half Chris Botti, half Till Bronner. “Desired Constellation,” begins with a little bit of interstellar bone shaking followed by something like a DJ Krush,Toshinori Kondo synth-out, all stars illuminated on this warp factor ride, a real expansion on old school mind bending. “Frejya,” in Norse, the goddess of Love and War, interpreted by Latham as a space corridor of sound with shimmering allusions, presumably where the desired constellations reside.

“My Juvenile,” starts off a wall of heavy bass, twisting synths conjure a scene of austere adolescence. A lonely, lost sound dominates a haunting trumpet poem. “The Dull Flame Of Desire,” Bjork’s brassy, “eyes my dear, bracing glance” duet with Antony Hegarty is replaced with a searing duet of bass and trumpet which plays out with a “Demolition Man” style bass line (rummaging through your Sting albums yet? We see you). “Godhi” is foot to the floor bass pedal reverberations, a Tomita/Kondo-style “Tubular Bells” battle; hits the God particle for 21st Century pagans.

“I See Who You Are,” a weighty piece, emerges with whale-like aplomb, cymbal crashes, space warriors roaming, dusty packets of noodles circa 3500 float past circular viewing windows. A Love Supreme hinting at Return to Forever. Fender Rhodes gets the groove furrowed and so it goes, cue trumpet spot, drum fills, space synth overdose, the final frontier arrived at by the slow walking bass line, who knew? The Cylons (Galactica circa 1980).

“Alugsukat” a feel so old it sounds like the 80s might to teenagers now, a mighty groove moogathon. Rolfe’s keys throughout are reminiscent of a combination of Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Eastern Greenland Eskimo folklore says that Auroras Borealis аrе thе souls οf stillborn babies. Thе Northern Illumination so-called “Alugsukat,” meaning a secret birth. “Hulda Folk” has that shapeshifting vibe we’re aware of in sci-fi movies, some divine creature stepping out of its human form to walk into an infinite slit doorway as they turn into a beam of light. (Hulda is Faroese for invisible ghosts. Apparently Hulda folk are part of Finnish and Orkney folklore, a sad tail/tale).

“Ostara” presents the final platform of Constellations to pronounce the diverse drum skills of Latham, includes an array of ambient noise, interference, jingly jangly drum rap, doo-dap-spit-tap-ting. A ‘proper’ Egan solo, fine Hancockian keys from Rolfe and a brighter trumpet solo injects optimism and a ticket back to reality. If Mark Egan wanted to riff on Mona Lisa in the style of Jaco Pastorius, this is it, “Wow” bass slides and extra noodling to finish. “Ostara,” Goddess of the Equinox, and where the word Easter comes from.

An album that rewards repeated listening.

Track Listing: Hope; Draco Rexus; Wanderlust; Desired Constellation; Frejya; My Juvenile; The Dull Flame Of Desire; Godhi; I See Who You Are; Alugsukat; Hulda Folk; Ostara.

Personnel: Karl Latham: drums, percussion; Mark Egan: electric bass: Nick Rolfe: keyboards; Ryan Carniaux: trumpet, flugelhorn.

Record Label: Double Moon Records

Style: Beyond Jazz

 

Karl

Bass Player Magazine Review of “Constellations”

CD Review: Karl Latham/Ryan Carniaux/Mark Egan “Constellations”

March 12, 2015

BY  Chris Jisi

Jazz drummer Latham, inspired by Björk’s 2007 side Volta, brilliantly reinterprets the Nordic chanteuse’s sound, style, and sensibility with the help of Mark Egan (on fretted and fretless Pedulla 5-strings), trumpeter Ryan Carniaux, and keyboardist Nick Rolfe. Egan leaps from the opener, “Hope,” with a growling theme-and-variation ostinato that becomes a dialogue with Carniaux’s horn. Elsewhere, he locks in tight with Latham’s taut groove on “Wanderlust” and global shuffle on “The Dull Flame of Desire,” issues dancing harmonics in “Desired Constellation,” and makes the closer, “Ostara,” his own with his sympathetic fretless melody reading and sprawling solo.

Bass Player Magazine Review of “Constellations”

KARL LATHAM/RYAN CARNIAUX/

MARK EGAN

Constellations Coverthumb

“Constellations”

DoubleMoon/Challenge Records

Jazz drummer Latham, inspired by Bjork’s

2007 side Volta, brilliantly reinterprets the

Nordic chanteuse’s sound, style, and sensibility with the help

of Mark Egan (on fretted and fretless Pedulla S-strings), trumpeter

Ryan Carniaux, and keyboardist Nick Rolfe. Egan leaps from

the opener, “Hope,” with a growling theme-and-variation ostinato

that becomes a dialogue with Carniaux’s horn. Elsewhere,

he locks in tight with Latham’s taut groove on “Wanderlust” and

global shuffle on “The Dull Flame of Desire,” issues dancing harmonics

in “Desired Constellation,” and makes the closer, “Ostara,”

his own with his sympathetic fretless melody reading and sprawling

solo. –Chris Jisi

ConstellationsBassPlayerReview

All About Jazz “Constellations”

Karl Latham, Ryan Carniaux and Mark Egan release “Constellations”

Published:

Karl Latham

Constellations is the debut recording from Karl Latham, Ryan Carniaux and Mark Egan with special guest Nick Rolfe featuring their creative interpretations of the music from Icelandic pop star Bjork.

On this 74+ minute highly adventurous improvisational outing the group draws from a wide palette of influences ranging from Miles Davis‘s Live-Evil and Bitches Brew to open ended impressionistic variations.

The Icelandic singer Bjork has created her own universe with her music and performances that are both exciting and original, but have not found an adequate interpreter until now with Constellations.

The fact that jazz musicians time and again play cover versions of Bjork compositions is a testament to her brilliant expression and vision.

Master drummer Karl Latham has been a Bjork fan for many years. Karl’s Resonance, was released by Dropzone Jazz Records in 2007, on which he recorded a cover version of the Bjork song “Pagan Poetry.”

Bjork’s recording “Volta” was released the same year which triggered an urgent desire in Latham not just to cover the songs but also to create compositions inspired by Bjork, which the group Constellations created for this first release.

Constellations is the embodiment of Bjork’s complete musical cosmos.

Latham shared his thoughts and plans originally with his long-time friend and colleague bassist Mark Egan. His enthusiasm was contagious and they considered who else could fit into this creative concept. They found another partner during a recording session with the up and coming virtuoso trumpet player Ryan Carniaux.

It soon became apparent that keyboardist Nick Rolfe, whom Karl and Mark knew from many joint performances, would be a perfect choice for the project. In the spring of 2013, with sound engineer Jeremy Gillespie from Barbershop Studios, they created these ground breaking interpretations of Bjork’s compositions and improvisations inspired by her music and the meeting of these musical spirits.

A fascinating portrait of a singer and her music emerged from these sessions. The recordings and group are called Constellations.

The bass lines, with Egan’s signature fluid sound, at times repetitive and then again free flowing, weave through the solid creative grooves created by Latham’s masterful drumming. The clear and powerful trumpet playing by Ryan Carniaux interprets Bjork’s voice but never mimics it literally. The multi-layered keyboards of Mr. Rolfe support the quartet like a flying sound carpet. The combination of all four musicians creates the hovering thick atmosphere of the “Nordic” sound, which reminds you incessantly of Bjork and her performances. Moments from such landmark recordings such as Miles Daviss Live Evil and Bitches Brew are reminiscent.

Karl Latham, initiator of the project, is a world-class drummer who has performed and recorded with Don Braden, Joel Frahm, Andy Snitzer, Claudio Roditi, Clark Terry, Joe Lovano, Michal Urbaniak and rock icon, Johnny Winter. He tours internationally with the group Unit 1 with John Hart and Mark Egan and can be heard on numerous CDs.

Mark Egan is one of the most well known contemporary bassists. He was an early student of Jaco Pastorius and for many years a member of the original Pat Metheny Group. Egan has also performed and recorded with Gil Evans, Pat Martino, Larry Coryell, John Abercrombie, Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff and a group that he co leads with drummer Danny Gottlieb, Elements. He has also recorded with Sting, Joan Osborn, John McGlaughlin and Marc Cohen, among others.

Ryan Carniaux from Providence, Rhode Island, studied music at Berklee in Boston. He currently lives in Cologne, tours throughout Europe and the USA and is considered a rising star among young trumpet players. He is Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the Folkwang University of the Arts. He has played with numerous German musicians including Wolfgang Lackersmid and internationally with Dave Liebman, Jerry Bergonzi Mark Murphy and Benny Golson.

Nick Rolfe was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Seattle, Washington. He started classical piano lessons when he was six years old. He studied in New York and has been seen and heard time and again with musicians from Slide Hampton to Roy Hargrove as well as Lizz Wright, India Arie and Nona Hendryx. He is also a successful actor and has appeared in various TV and film productions.

AllAboutJazz Constellations News

Karl Latham – Ryan Carniaux – Mark Egan now available on ITunes & Amazon.com!!!

The new Karl Latham – Ryan Carniaux – Mark Egan CD is now available on Itunes and Amazon.com!!!

Karl Latham-Ryan Carniaux-Mark Egan
“Constellations”

Constellations is the debut recording from Karl Latham – Ryan Carniaux – Mark Egan with special guest Nick Rolfe featuring their creative interpretations of the music from Icelandic pop star Björk.

On this 74+ min. highly adventurous improvisational outing the group draws from a wide palette of influences ranging from Miles Davis Live-Evil to open ended impressionistic variations.
Constellations Coverthumb
Latham/Carniaux/Egan “Constellations” CD at Amazon.com

Latham/Carniaux/Egan “Constellations” on Itunes
Karl Latham

 

Midwest Record Review “Constellations”

logoBeta1
12/09/14
DOUBLE MOON

LATHAM CARNIAUX EGAN/Constellations: Ah, Bjork and jazz. Jason Miles led us to the Bjorkestra a decade back and now Mark Egan leads us to a Miles Davis fusion/funk era take on Bjork. If you dig that period Miles (Davis) than you probably won’t care whether this crew is serving up Bjork or not because they do a great job of hitting your ear dead center. Check it out.
71140Volume 38/Number 39
December 9, 2014
MIDWEST RECORD
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

“Constellations” released in Germany,Switzerland and Austria

Cover

Karl Latham / Ryan Carniaux / Mark Egan

Constellations

 

 Released October 24th in Germany, Switzerland and Austria

About the album

The Icelandic singer Björk has created her own universe with her music and performances, which has no precedence and has not found an adequate imitator until now either. A woman who made music from a very early age and has not neglected to try almost everything with respect to style. However, she always went to the limits of reasonableness by mixing sounds and genres long enough until she felt comfortable in her own world of sound. In doing this, she took things from all places where she saw chances and possibilities for her own statements. Without consideration for the rules of pop business, she violated all conventions, angered fans with her about-faces and found new ones. Björk has not only divided music aficionados into Björk opponents and Björk fans, but also her fans into “part-time” fans, who loved one album and ignored the next at best. But all agree on one thing: she is one of the most creative musicians of the last decade.
The fact that jazz musicians time and again play cover versions of Björk songs is understandable against this background. Jason Moran, Greg Osby, Dave Douglas, Gretchen Parlato, The Bad Plus, Jeff Tain Watts and many others have reworked Björk songs.  In addition, Björk repeatedly engaged jazz musicians for her music, e.g., Oliver Lake, Zeena Parkins and Mike Patton. Karl Latham has been a Björk fan for many years, and a CD was already released by Resonance Records in 2007, on which a he played a cover version of the Björk song Pagan Poetry. Björk’s album “Volta” was released the same year, and triggered an urgent desire in Karl Latham not just to cover the songs, but also to create a few compositions as–so to say–”commentary”. However, also as interpretation of Björk’s complete musical cosmos. The CD ran for a long time as if in an “endless loop” until Latham had the feeling to be getting near to the core. Only then did he share his thoughts and plans, first with his long-time companion and friend, the bassist Mark Egan. He was immediately filled with enthusiasm, and together they considered who else could fit into the concept. They found the right partner during a recording session: the young and up-and-coming trumpet player Ryan Carniaux. It was soon also clear that keyboarder Nick Rolfe, whom Karl and Mark knew from many joint performances, should be on board.
It was finally time in the spring 2013; they went with sound engineer Jeremy Gillespie into Barbershop Studios. A fascinating portrait of a singer and her music was created, who has exercised such strong influence. The focus on rhythm is fascinating, rhythm that already distinguished the album “Volta”. Bass lines, at times repetitive and then again free flowing to meander through these meters. The clear, powerful trumpet, which interprets Björk’s voice but never mimics it. A keyboard sound that carries the quartet over the air like a flying sound carpet. And then it is there: the hovering thick atmosphere of “Nordic” sound, which reminds you incessantly of Björk and her performances.
Karl Latham, initiator of the project, is a very versatile drummer, who has worked with musicians from Claudio Roditi to Clark Terry, but also–among others–with Joe Lovano, Michal Urbaniak, Don Braden and even rock musicians such as Johnny Winter. He has toured internationally and can be heard on numerous CDs.
Mark Egan is one of the most well know living e-bassists. He was a student of Jaco Pastorius and many years a member of the Pat Metheny Group, bassist in the Gil Evans Monday Night Orchestra and the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band. He has also worked in the studio with Sting and Marc Cohn, among others.
Ryan Carniaux from New York studied in Berklee and then switched to Maastricht (NL). He currently lives in Cologne and is considered a rising star among young trumpet players. He has played with numerous German (Pablo Held, Norbert Stein) and international (Mark Murphy, Benny Golson) jazz musicians.
Nick Rolfe was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Seattle, Washington. He already had (classical) piano lessons when he was six years old. He studied in New York and has been seen and heard time and again on the side of known musicians from Slide Hampton to Roy Hargrove as well as Lizz Wright, India Arie and Nona Hendryx. He is also a successful actor and has acted in various TV and film productions.