Mark De Cive-Lowe: CHURCH (ropeadope)

 |   |  1 min read

Mark De Clive-Lowe: The Processional
Mark De Cive-Lowe: CHURCH (ropeadope)

When I interviewed expat keyboard player/producer and remixer Mark De Clive-Lowe during his recent 36-hour visit to Auckland he was aware – after 10 years in London and five in LA where he lives with his wife, singer Nia Andrews, and two children – he was seen as a former Kiwi by some, although was insistent ours was the flag he flew, and how he was known internationally.

The visit home was to talk up this album, the first time he's done such promotion for a decade, but CHURCH is that important to him he came from two dates in Japan before returning to LA for an album launch.

Later this month he'll be launching it in New York.

That makes sense because the album emerged from his CHURCH nights in both US cities, and it sounds like a definitive statement of where's at right now, which is at the junction of jazz, hip-hop, House and clubland dance.

Playing acoustic piano again for the first time in a decade, De Clive-Lowe also shows confident reach in his arrangements for the US horn players (who includes top-flight NYC trombonist Robin Eubanks and his trumpeter brother Duane), hooks in some voodoo rhythms (Nova Roda) and delivers a mathematically complex dancefloor piece (Brukstep).

He also drops a lovely piano ballad Sketch for Miguel alongside a lively, full-bodied treatment of South African Abdullah Ibrahim's bouncy and percussive Imam (with sonic manipulations).

So if his sonic palette and influences are broad, the art is also in pulling all this together for an album which sounds cohesive, which he does by an astute running order which emphasises the discrete nature of each piece and also moves through moods: The rolling, exotically modal sound of the standout The Processional drops back for the follow-up Now or Never with Andrews on soulful vocals.

CHURCH – the name an allusion to the celebratory nature of black gospel churches as well as his club nights of jazz-into-danceparty – packs a lot of jazz and personal history into its 13 tracks (there's some astral jazz on their woozy version of Charles Earland's Mason's Galaxy from the 70s, complete with spaceflight electro-bleeps).

If the opener The Mission with big-ups about De Clive-Lowe from rapper John Robinson sounds initially off-putting, CHURCH is a fascinating, enjoyable and rewarding journey thereafter.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Bemsha Swing: Against Friends and Lovers (Muzai)

The Bemsha Swing: Against Friends and Lovers (Muzai)

Courageous and/or foolhardy is a furious post-punk bassist and guitaring duo (with a pneumatic drill drum machine, buzz-shred guitar chords) which would name itself after a Thelonious Monk tune.... > Read more

Devendra Banhart: Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (XL)

Devendra Banhart: Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (XL)

Widely credited as the figurehead of the neo-folk movement (which owes more to early jazzy folk-rocking Donovan than Dylan in its encompassing vision and musical ambition), Texas-born Banhart has... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JABBERROCK: THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ROCK'N'ROLL QUOTATIONS by RAYMOND OBSTFELD AND PATRICIA FITZGERALD

JABBERROCK: THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ROCK'N'ROLL QUOTATIONS by RAYMOND OBSTFELD AND PATRICIA FITZGERALD

This lightweight but cheap paperback provides some funny observations (such as Elvis Costello's "Rock'n'roll is the lowest form of life known to man"), but mostly it proves we're lucky... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . TOMMY QUICKLY: The career that couldn't be created

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . TOMMY QUICKLY: The career that couldn't be created

At the end of '63 the fresh and freckle-faced 18-year old Tommy Quickly was standing at the door of his dreams: he'd been signed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein (who had changed his name from... > Read more