Review: Partikel @ Lichfield Garrick

The jazz quartet Partikel played a set that blended muscular musicianship with an experimental approach to sound manipulation when they performed at the Lichfield Garrick.

With an unusual line up of saxophone, violin, double bass and drums they also made judicious use of lap top technology, samples, and live looping to present their impressionistic soundscapes.

The ensemble, led by saxophonist and composer Duncan Eagles, consisted of double bassist Max Luthert, Eric Ford on drums and violinist Benet McLean performed pieces that ranged from gentle tone poems, to swing jazz studies and elements of rock that blended cacophony with control.

The use of looping and sampling meant that violin parts could be built on top of each other, lending the pieces a chamber jazz sound. The same also happened with the saxophone, building up monologues with all of the instruments, but the exact ending of pieces – or even moments within pieces – showed the exact control that all four of the musicians had over the sound.

Midnight Mass was a long form study in form, mood and shifting time signatures, while the up-beat Shimmer showed ensemble playing that most orchestras would be proud of.

The latin swing of Bartering with Bob was another exercise in saxophone improvisation, joyful drums and bass, and very inventive violin playing.

This would not have been a night for everyone, but for fans of new, original music, played by some fine writers and musicians, it was hard to beat.