Insufficient Funs - Self-Titled EP
Info: Insufficient Funs are a drums and bass saxophone duo, borne out of Matthew Jacobson's (Ensemble Ériu, ReDiviDeR) recent Musician-in-Residence award. The rare use of bass saxophone provides seriously low tones for Sam Comerford (Umbra, AERIE) to weave between grooving basslines, melodies and textures in conversation with Jacobson's playful drumming.
Collectively these two musicians have represented Ireland with the European Jazz Orchestra, the European Saxophone Ensemble, 12Points Festival and have performed and recorded together with several groups including A E R I E, Chris Guilfoyle's UMBRA and Ronan Guilfoyle's 'A Shy Going Boy'.
The duo recently recorded their debut EP at Dublin’s Hellfire Studios and will be performing several dates around Europe this summer including 12 Points Festival in San Sebastian, Spain in July and Another Love Story Festival in Ireland in August.
Due to my ongoing love-in with Toronto's BADBADNOTGOOD, I was able to get straight into Dublin duo Insufficient Funs debut self-titled EP, there are some similarities, but here we have a more direct and stripped-back sound from Jacobson and Comerford, which is more steeped in classical jazz from the golden era, such as, but not overly similar to, Eric Dolphy or especially Ornette Coleman. Opener 'evilOlive' is just such an excellent start to the EP, the brooding saxophone is deep and gets us off to a pulsating start alongside the almost casual rhythm of the percussion. It's cool for sure, slick, and maybe the most contemporary sounding track on the collection, which also reminded me of Belfast peers Robocobra Quartet in their less manic moments.
'Sam's Haircut' feels more old worldly, and the deliberately arrhythmic drumming eventually draws you into a pleasurably lulled state of relaxation and reverie, due to the unconventional to-and-fro between it and the sax, these guys clearly like and enjoy experimentation and a free-form approach. Then we have 'Eirik's Suite', the shrill and foreboding saxophone paints a mythical fog-bound landscape. The pace slowly builds with brush on snare and the mood lightens slightly as we approach the half-way point of the EP's longest track at just under 8 minutes, then, pow! The tempo rises and Comerford and Jacobson lock horns, it's chaos in a controlled way until we are brought to a screeching halt.
The EP's title track is initially a plodding affair with a groovy funk style that creates one of the definitive moments on the recording, the creation of atmospheres momentarily goes out the window and it's time to add a little spice to proceedings, a pause, and then back to business, I pinpoint my wow moment to 3:46 here. Closing with the sedate 'Undone', the soundtrack to a black and white walk through 1920's Paris and Insufficient Funs are done.
As I've said on previous occasions I love jazz, but my knowledge is negligible, however, as time goes on and I listen to, and read more about it, I find that my ears have become more receptive and appreciative of a genre which requires great skill to pull off successfully. This EP does just that, it's intricate and thoughtful and very accessible, easy to imagine in a live setting and gives so much variety across it's almost 30 minutes that it feels just as much like a story as a piece of music, a rewarding experience for me.
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