Tom Ludvigson / Trevor Reekie
Jazzscore / Southbound
Ludvigson and Reekie have worked to together for years, the core of the group A Trip To The Moon, and here in improvised/spontaneous composition-mode as the duo behind ROTO. The six pieces that sprawl across a half hour or so here feature Reekie on guitar, ebow and effects and Ludvigson at the piano and synths.
It’s ambient-washes of sound and you can spot moments that can be likened to all manner of classic moments from key ambient practitioners – Ludvigson the Harold Budd component, Reekie moving between “Frippertronics” and some of the feel of early 80s Daniel Lanois. So with those vestiges we’re firmly floating in Eno-land. But it takes a few moments to get there. Roto’s opening, title track is, for me, more reminiscent of The Necks – and Chris Abrahams’ solo work. The haunting, crepuscular piano notes…
Catch 23 is more guitar-focused, albeit languid strums and spirals of Fripp-ery sounds that circle off from the root notes. Spacey washes. This is – overall – Big Spliff Music. In that the big spliff might be the catalyst for listening to this, Roto the perfect soundtrack; or indeed Roto is “The Big Spliff” – the soundscape that takes you there, drug-free.
For Fantasy Garden we’re back towards Necks territory, though pulse-less, the piano cascades feeling slightly ominous and soundtrack-y, the guitar effects and synths adding to the nocturnal essence. Depending on your disposition this is the music you can nod off to or stare out the window blissfully with – or it’s cold sweat. Look behind you!
For all my mentions of the “wheelhouse”-related material – Eno, Necks, a bit of Kraftwerk’s early bubble (Ghost at the Crossing) I find this to be its own thing. The spacey traces of the voice of A Trip To The Moon are there, just beat-less this time, wafting, worldly and wonderful. The further it goes the more their own voice shines through. By the time of the gentle closer, In A Vision, it’s time to press play again. To pour another. Or light another. To kick back and let the music take you to where it is heading.