Mark Wingfield: Tales From The Dreaming City, The Stone House and Lighthouse
British guitarist Mark Wingfield seems to be a perfect synthesis of what a contemporary rock guitarist can be understood today. His music, his own musical vision are the result of a training course that moves between rock, jazz and classical academic teachings. The result is a highly structured music, characterized by an evident virtuosic skill not only at a technical level but also at a stylistic level, but where improvisation, linked to a very high level of interplay between the committed musicians, becomes part of an instantaneous compositional process. where the moment is fixed forever.
When a guitarist, a musician, expresses such a complex reality it becomes difficult to trace an artistic path. I think it’s better to leave the word to his records and his music. In the end, music is always the best.
Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis, The Stone House, MoonJune Records, 2017
The notes inside the cd are clear, simple and lapidary: “Recorded live in the studio with no overdubs. The music on this album was completely improvised with no music written down ord rehearsed.”
The result is six tracks, with a decidedly interesting duration that develop in the space of about sixty minutes. Pure improvisation or instant composition? Difficult to define precisely. Perhaps it would be better to talk about a hypothesis of totally improvised music, where each musician contributes with his own baggage of experience and his own sensitivity. The stylistic references are many and varied: the Frippertronics ambient lessons by Robert Fripp and the generative music by Brian Eno, the King Crimson’s advanced and sophisticated rock and its thousand reincarnations, the jazz-rock atmospheres that refer to the groups captained by Allan Holdsworth.
This record is based on the ability of interplay of its protagonists, their combined ability to listen, on the use of less conventional jazz and prog structures, on the equal role of the individual instrumental voices. The result is a real chromatic mosaic where Markus Reuter’s guitar generates liquid textures that are to be inserted into the non-pulsation pulsation of the polyphythmic drums of Asaf Sirkis, in the nervous and powerful bass of Yaron Stavi and which find its opposite in the articulated and nervous phrasing by Mark Wingfield. A record that expresses a “free form” that is usually thought to be the preserve of other styles and genres. All recorded in one day, February 19, 2016.
Wingfield Reuter Sirkis, Lighthouse, MoonJune Records, 2017
“And then they were three”. The quartet is reduced, it loses the rhythmic and melodic support of Yaron Stavi’s bass. Actually it would be better to say that it will acquire it after the fact that the recordings of “Lighthouse” are antecedent, one day, to those of “The Stone House”.
The aesthetic approach of the two works is substantially the same: total creative freedom and domination of the instant composition. Compared to the previous “twin”, “Lighthouse shows a greater experimental character and more abstract sound structures. It is clear the absence of Yaron Stavi electric bass, the structures are dilated, the role of electric conductor is entrusted only to the guitar of Mark Wingfield, Asaf Sirkis is free to extend its rhythmic support and Markus Reuter can create ambient and tapestries chromatic textures as large as aurora borealis. Despite these assumptions the disc seems to me characterized by a sound even more saturated than the previous one, perhaps the greater harmonic freedom has pushed the musicians to expand their skills and possibilities occupying all possible spaces turning “Lighthouse” into a record of intense and experimental atmospheres .
Mark Wingfield, Tales From The Dreaming City, MoonJune Records, 2018
“And then they were three”. Second part. This time it lacks Markus Reuter and the former quartet is reduced in the classic form of the rock trio, with the addition of the guest, the Belgian keyboardist Dominic Vantomme. The absence of Reuter leaves more free space to Wingfield’s guitar and toa more prog and jazz-rock music, Stavi and Sirkis confirm a rhythmic powerful, expressive and absolutely effective duo, missing that more experimental aspect that had captured me in the previous “Lighthouse”, but at the same time I feel a more cohesive structure and more constructed tracks. Sometimes this greater cohesion results in structures typical of jazz fusion, making the record less chromatic and balanced, but the instrumental skill and creativity of the protagonists can skillfully compensate for some creative impasse. Perhaps a little courage was lacking. This record will not fail, but to delight those who love the prog music.