On 16th June, Strut records presents ‘ Dolphin ’ – the first collaborative LP between Venetian maestro Gigi Masin and esteemed pianist/composer/producer Greg Foat, which also features Moses Boyd on drums and Tom Herbert on bass.
Utilizing “an electric piano, sounds from my digital library and an old iPad2” (Masin) and “grand piano, vibraphone and lots of vintage synthesizers” (Foat), the former’s melancholy melodies meet the latter’s laid back, slo-mo grooves, which pour out like honey. Herbert’s huge unfurling basslines, and taught Pistorius-style fretless are paired with Boyd’s sturdy but swinging drums, whilst warm synths create pastel-colour clouds, through which emerge smokey keys, flute, and piano.
Both artist’s signature styles are here, but blended with such smooth liquidity that the pairing seems like the most natural no-brainer ever. What might seem less obvious though, or at least more of a surprise, is that Gigi – someone synonymous with sun-drenched electronica – has proper jazz chops:
“Through my record collection, which is full of jazz, to my friendship with Kenny Wheeler, and chats with Paula Bley, I would say I’m definitely a jazz man of sorts. I love many genres and have a desire to explore my musicality; a desire to create melodies, moods and atmospheres flows from me, spilling right over genre lines.”
With a basis in draft compositions by Masin, these were then embellished and developed by Foat’s trio, and were followed by a back-and-forth exchange of improvised ideas, all of which was produced by Greg, who sculpted the finished article. The record is predominantly a group effort, but due to Foat’s sensitive handling, certain points were left largely unadorned, sans rhythm section, letting Masin’s essence take centre stage.
“The live music played by myself, Moses and Tom on real instruments, blended organically with the digitally created music by Gigi. To me there’s no overarching theme to the album, other than I love Gigi’s music and wanted us to record together. The oil painting featured on the album cover – also called ‘Dolphin’ – is by my cousin Niul, and provided a broad inspiration for the feel of the record”, comments Foat.
“I think above all it’s a tribute to the joy of playing together and creating something beautiful and exciting. It’s a sincere hymn to life and humanity, and as with all my records, is a personal exploration and translation of life moments”, comments Gigi conversely. “I was sure that Greg’s extreme musical ability would respect and give further light to the ideas I proposed. I find it really unique, listening to the record now; it’s not easy to distinguish where my contribution ends and where his begins. It’s a beautiful fusion because it was so natural”.
Greg Foat & Gigi Masin ‘Dolphin’
- ‘London Nights’
- ‘Love Theme’
- ‘Leo Theo’
- ‘Viento Calido’
- ‘Your Move’
Stay tuned at Electronic ConnectFM Tracks of the Week selection and Listen to Greg Foat & Gigi Masin’s new music first
Photo Credit Alexis Maryon