“Constellations” **** Review at The Spill Magazine 

The Spill

Karl Latham, Ryan Carniaux & Mark Egan
Constellations
Double Moon Records

Constellations, the jazz/funk interpretation of Björk’s 2007 Volta, goes beyond categorizations. Drummer Karl Latham, trumpeter Ryan Carniaux, bassist Mark Egan, and guest keyboardist Nick Rolfe teamed up to perform 12 songs from the Icelandic avant-garde pop star’s seventh studio album, truly reflecting the nature of the iconic pop artist.

From the opening track “Hope,” there are shades of free-flowing funk with the intense percussion, funky bass lines, sparse keyboards, and free-blowing trumpet. It gets into more out-of-space territory through its longer tracks, especially on “Desired Constellation,” which opens with nearly five minutes of atmospheric synthesizers before locking into a funk groove.

The album uses the influences of later Miles Davis and (to an extent) Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time to create otherworldly landscapes that take the listener into a different world. It highlights how unconventional Björk is in her musical career by constantly redefining and reshaping her music and creativity to take it to new levels and territories. But be forewarned: ‘Constellations’ is not your traditional jazz-fusion record with the expected constant grooves and singable melodies. It’s a record that carries you into another world, challenging your musical sensibilities as it takes you on the journey. Constellations is part of the new jazz movement that is shaping how we listen and evolve our music sensibilities in the 21st century and beyond.

– Conrad Gayle (Twitter @CON_RADICAL)

‘Constellations’ is not your traditional jazz-fusion record with the expected constant grooves and singable melodies. It’s a record that carries you into another world, challenging your musical sensibilities as it takes you on the journey. Constellations is part of the new jazz movement that is shaping how we listen and evolve our music sensibilities in the 21st century” - Conrad Gayle

— Spill Magazine

The 37th Annual Jazz Station Awards / The Best Jazz of 2015 / Os Melhores do Jazz em 2015 

These are the complete results of the 37th Annual Jazz Station Awards conducted by the Los Angeles-based jazz journalist, record producer, jazz historian & jazz educator Arnaldo DeSouteiro. Mr. DeSouteiro is a voting member of NARAS-Grammy, as well as of the Jazz Journalists Association and the Los Angeles Jazz Society. He has produced over 830 sessions, according to the All Music Guide website. For more details and a small bio, please check 

2015 Drums: 1. Steve Gadd (“70 Strong” – BFM Jazz); 2. Akira Jimbo (“Jimbo de CTI” – Electric Bird); 3. Danny Gottlieb (“Directon Home” w/ Mark Egan – Wavetone); 4. Dan Brubeck (“Live From The Cellar” – Blue Forest Records); 5. Karl Latham (“Constellations” – Double Moon Records); 6. Antonio Sanchez (“The Unity Sessions” Blu-ray w/ Pat Metheny); 7. Jack DeJohnette (“Made In Chicago” – ECM); 8. Reggie Quinerly (“Invictus” – Redefinition Music); 9. Herlin Riley (“Live In Marciac” w/ Ahmad Jamal – Jazzbook/Jazz Village); 10. Harvey Mason (“Silver” w/ Fourplay – Heads Up); 11. Al Foster (“Heads Of State” w/ Gary Bartz – Smoke Sessions Records); 12. Joey Baron (“Sound Prints” w/ Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas – Blue Note); 13. William Kennedy (“Get Up!” w/ Bob Mintzer Big Band – MCG); 14. Bill Stewart (“Past Present” w/ John Scofield – Impulse!); 15. Anders Vestergard (“Lisbon Sessions” w/ Lupa Santiago & Anders Vestergard Quintet – Drum Voice Records) 

2015 Engineer: 1. Rudy Van Gelder (“Something Personal” w/ Houston Person – HighNote);  2. Jeremy Gillespie/Fred Kervorkian (“Constellations” w/ Karl Latham, Ryan Carniaux & Mark Egan); 3. Victor França/Angelo Cioffi (“A Testa In Giù!” w/ Gabriele Mirabassi & Orquestra À Base de Sopro de Curitiba – EGEA); 4. Paul Wickliffe (“Call It What You Want” w/ Russ Nolan – Rhinoceruss Music); 5. Adam Thomas/Joel Fountain (“Live From The Cellar” w/ The Dan Brubeck Quartet – Blue Forest Records); 6. Jay Dudt/Rich Breen (“Get Up!” w/ Bob Mintzer Big Band – MCG); 7. Talley Sherwood/Tom McCauley (“Jimbo de CTI” w/ Akira Jimbo – Electric Bird); 8. Phil Magnotti (“Direction Home” w/ Mark Egan – Wavetone); 9. Aaron Nevezie (“Invictus” w/ Reggie Quinerly – Redefinition Music) 

2015 Artwork: 1. EyeSoar Graphics (“Live From The Cellar” w/ The Dan Brubeck Quartet” – Blue Forest Records); 2. Knut Schötteldreier (“Constellations” w/ Karl Latham, Ryan Carniaux & Mark Egan – Double Moon); 3. Roger Huyssen (“Symphonic Arrangement – Suite For Flute And Jazz Piano Trio” w/ Hubert Laws, Steve Barta & Jeffrey Biegel – SBM); 4. Alessandro Scullari (“A Testa In Giù!” w/ Gabriele Mirabassi & Orquestra À Base de Sopro de Curitiba – EGEA); 5. Javier Chacin/Judy Kahn (“An Evening Of Indigos” w/ Bill Kirchner – Jazzheads); 6. Lauren Webster Mease (“Invictus” w/ Reggie Quinerly – Redefinition Music) 

The Best Jazz Instrumental CDs 

Hubert Laws/Steve Barta/Jeffrey Biegel: “Symphonic Arrangement – Claude Bolling’s Suite For Flute And Jazz Piano” (SBM) 
Bob Mintzer Big Band: “Get Up!” (MCG) 
Akira Jimbo: “Jimbo de CTI” (Electric Bird) 
Anders Bergcrantz: “The Painter” (Vanguard Music Boulevard) 
Pat Metheny, Jan Garbarek, Gary Burton: “Hommage À Eberhard Weber” (ECM) 
The Dan Brubeck Quartet: “Live From The Cellar – Celebrating The Music and Lyrics of Dave & Iola Brubeck” (Blue Forest Records) 
Karl Latham, Ryan Carniaux & Mark Egan: “Constellations” (Double Moon) 
Mark Little: “Suite Mother” (Caralittle Music) 
Akua Dixon: “Akua Dixon” (Akua’s Music) 
Mark Egan: “Direction Home” (Wavetone) 
Lupa Santiago & Anders Vestergard Quintet: “Lisbon Sessions” (Drum Voice Records) 
Carlos Franzetti: “In The Key Of Tango” (Sunnyside) 
Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra: “Shrimp Tale” (Crown Heights Audio) 
The Gabriel Alegría Afro-Peruvian Sextet: “10” (Zoho) 
Bjorn Solli: “Aglow: The Lyngor Project Volume 1” (Lyngor Records) 
Mark Wade Trio: “Event Horizon” (Mark Wade Music) 
Kamasi Washington: “The Epic” (Brainfeeder) 
Lupa Santiago & Paulo Braga: “Manhã” (Sound Finger) 
Isaac Darche: “Team & Variations” (Challenge Records)

 

 

Bass Player Magazine Review of “Constellations” 

KARL LATHAM/RYAN CARNIAUX/ 

MARK EGAN 

“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

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 (” - Chris Jisi

— Bass Player Magazine

Bass Player Magazine Review

Bass Player Magazine Review

Modern Drummer Magazine

“Constellations” 

 

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

By FIONA ORD-SHRIMPTON, 

If you happened to be in vitro fed Isao Tomita during your pre-personage, you’re going to recognise Karl Latham’s Constellationselectronica 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 Evilexperience 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