Bex Burch & Leafcutter JohnBuy / listen
“Together they seem to warp space and time... a thoroughly compelling session” — John Lewis, ★★★★ Guardian Contemporary album of the month
“There’s almost no boundary between them as the music moves forward... vibrant and flowing soundscape” — Corey Mwamba, BBC Radio 3 Freeness
Minimalist percussion meets exuberant synths on ‘Boing!’, a first-time pairing of like-minded artists Leafcutter John, “one of the UK’s most fearlessly inventive electronicists” (Time Out London) and “imaginative” (The Wire) composer, percussionist and gyil player Bex Burch.
When a planned meeting in Sheffield was put on hold John and Bex began playing together using Zoom to record weekly improvised sessions during the first lockdown of 2020. The sessions became a regular creative outlet for the two artists and gave rise to ‘Boing!’ which documents John and Bex getting to know each other and helping each other through the lockdown experience.
‘Boing!’ is a celebration of listening and creative freedom from two of the most exciting voices in the jazz+ scene. "I suggested playing over Zoom and that we use the delay as part of the improvisation" Bex describes, taking turns to lead the exchange, whilst enjoying the looseness of “there not being a definite time”, as John puts it.
Leafcutter John is a veteran and pioneer of electronic music with releases on Border Community, Staubgold, and Planet Mu. He is an award winning improviser, producer, and instrument maker and was a key member of Mercury-nominated British jazz pioneers Polar Bear. On ‘Boing!’ he plays a modular synthesiser controlled by self-authored software that he uses to create and manipulate patterns in real time.
Bex Burch is known for a unique fusion of jazz, post punk and minimalism all centred around the sound of the gyil (Dagaare xylophone). Bex formed Vula Viel in 2015. Lauded by Iggy Pop, the trio have performed on BBC 6 Music for Gilles Peterson and across Europe including WOMAD. On ‘Boing!’ Bex can be heard on her self-made augmented gyil, voice, bells, calabash and percussion.
‘Boing!’ is proof of the joyful potential of technology to enable remote and almost simultaneous improvised musical conversations. More importantly this absorbing album celebrates Bex Burch and Leafcutter John and their unique creative collaboration.
‘Boing!’ by Bex Burch & Leafcutter John is out now on Vula Viel Records, artwork is hand painted individual cassettes by Leafcutter John and CDs by Bex Burch.