19 Sep 2020

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Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie - Album Review: Roto

20 Jan 2020 // A review by Mike Alexander

Technology without artifice is a rarity in music nowadays – any 'nerd' with an understanding of the various software programmes available for composing music can create something out of nothing without being compelled by an inner muse.

Roto, by Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie, is an exception to such mundaneness. Both are well schooled in their fields – Ludvigson, a self-described "technology" artist has left his fingerprints as an artist and producer in a multitude of genres as well as collaborating with Pagan records founder Reekie on the exemplary jazz-influenced output of Trip To The Moon.

Roto traverses completely new ground for the pair, though one could conclude that what has gone before has planted the seeds for this extraordinary exploration into sonic spaces. The album opens with the title track, which has some gorgeous interplay between piano and guitar and gentle electronic washes that set the mood for an album that’s both captivating but elusive in terms of trying to pigeonhole it. Possibilities are suggested.

Catch 23 and Fantasy Garden continue the somewhat reflective and contemplative mood, with the later featuring some free flowing piano improvisations, which are again to the fore on the delicately spun final track In A Vision.

The centrepieces of Roto are the two longest tracks. The Hourglass, which clocks in at just over 10 minutes, is again framed around some lovely guitar and piano interplay. It meanders along like two gentle streams that interweave and criss-cross - separate but drawn from the same source. There’s an electronic undercurrent that flows through it, including a babble of processed voices (which remain a bit of a mystery). Ghost At The Crossing is more dynamically electronic, with a wavering synth line and blipping and bleeping that eventually give way to pensive guitar undulations and more whirling and swirling currents of sound and experimental noises. It’s much more demanding on the listener than any of the other tracks on Roto but has its own mysterious charm.

This isn’t another Trip To The Moon that we might have expected, it’s much more stellar than that.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

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