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Wingfield, Mark with Jane Chapman and Adriano Adewale: Zoji

Reviewing at SoT is often a journey into the unknown, bands, ideas, styles and approaches that you hadn’t anticipated or encountered before placed in front of you for comment. Sometimes that results in eye opening, mind altering, taste changing encounters and on other occasions, you have to be honest and say that whoever an album is aimed at, it isn’t me. And, you guessed it, it was the latter thought that I encountered with Zoji, an album from guitarist and ‘soundscape’ creator Mark Wingfield, where he is aided by harpsichord player Jane Chapman and percussionist/vocaliser Adriano Adewale.

From the three it’s arguably the harpsichord of Chapman that provides the main focus across the eleven tracks presented here, this lady raining a succession of pin-pricked sounds down on meandering, precise guitars that sometimes compliment and at other junctures bounce off the careful shower of notes Chapman provides. The opening pair of “City Story” and “Seven Faces Of Silence” prove enigmatic and mysterious, Adewale, especially on the latter of the two, adding vocal sounds more akin to buzzes, hushes and whispers. When aligned with his rattled and shaken percussion, the whole effect becomes really rather intriguing. However, for someone like myself not steeped in this shimmer of jazz constructions with a world music feel, once you realise that each track, while moving and changing the moods and atmospheres, is going to head down some very similar paths, the attention starts to wander.

Interestingly, what I found myself doing as I revisited this album to get to know the likes of “Sun Court” or “Wind Falls, Cliffs Rise”, was to start the journey in different places - this pair of tracks being selections six and seven in the journey. With each new jumping on point I will admit that the first one, two or three pieces encountered had me pondering whether this time the penny had dropped. But no matter where I started, once I had ventured a few tracks in, my interest fell away into a world of much of a muchness. With the harpsichord allowed almost always to dominate the surrounds and the guitar to play ‘second fiddle’, it was the percussive asides and vocalisations that I kept an ear out for and even they often passed me by.

Zoji is, as I’m often left saying for albums that leave me cold for reasons other than the creative capabilities put into them, beautifully crafted and clearly comes from the heart. However, in reality, for someone who resides outside of this musical world, the results simply refuse to engage and with such a singular, unvarying approach in evidence, are quickly forgotten.

Track Listing
1. City Story
2. Seven Faces of Silence
3. Persian Snow Leopard
4. Parallel Time
5. Land on Sky
6. Sun Court
7. Wind Falls Cliffs Rise
8. Pasquali Dream
9. Zoji Pass
10. Prélude sinueux
11. Viaduct Road

Added: October 2nd 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Mark Wingfield @ bandcamp
Hits: 391
Language: english

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