12" Vinyl UK
Claremont 56 label head Paul Mudd Murphy joins forces with guitarist Alex Searle and percussionist Patrick Dawes in the Hillside project.
Over the years, Claremont 56 has played host to some memorable collaborative projects, most notably Bison, an unlikely super-group whose members included Holgar Czukay, Ursula Kloss, Liquid Liquid’s Sal Principato, Ben Smith and label boss Paul ‘Mudd’ Murphy. Now Murphy is at the helm of another collaborative outfit, Hillside, whose seductive debut single contains two deliciously pie eyed instrumental workouts.
Hillside is very much a family affair, with Murphy joining forces with two old friends: bassist/guitarist Alex Searle and percussionist Patrick Dawes. The trio has a collaborative history that stretches right back to Murphy’s time in Akwaaba in the mid nineties. For their debut outing, Hillside has also welcomed a very special guest musician: award-winning jazz violinist and long-time Bert Jasch collaborator Mike Piggott.
As opening gambits go, “Hidden Port” is an emphatic statement of intent. The audio equivalent of sailing slowly around a cluster of sun-baked islands in search of shelter from an approaching storm, the track sees Searle wrap bluesy, Peter Green style guitar passages around a shuffling, Latin-tinged groove rich in Dawes’ distinctive percussion patterns and Murphy’s languid electric piano and synthesizer lines. As the track progresses, Piggott steps up to make his mark, with his undulating electric violin lines complimenting Hillside’s impeccable instrumentation while adding extra emotional weight to proceedings. It’s a stunning beginning to the Hillside story.
Piggott also makes a big impression on accompanying cut “The King’s Tun”, delivering fluid and energy-packed solos that weave in and out of a bright and breezy instrumental track rich in jangling acoustic guitars, subtly spacey electronics, fireside-warm bass and more sparse-but-intricate percussion courtesy of the effervescent Dawes. Searle’s eyes-closed, rock style guitar solos cap another memorable excursion from Claremont 56’s latest in-house band. [info sheet from distr.]