WAY OUT WEST
Peter Knight has shaken up the personnel and instrumentation – and therefore the music – of his Way Out West project, while managing to retain its essential dialogue between East and West. Where happy grooves once predominated, here the opening Nine Years Later begins as a post-apocalyptic soundscape sparsely decorated by Satsuki Odamura’s thrumming bass koto. Eventually a simple horn line softens the mood, beckoning a solo from Knight’s lonely trumpet, behind which the band awakes from its slumber.
By contrast the ensuing Anthony Blaise has a furious opening, before settling into a twilight world where an Afro groove can loom out of the atmospherics, and in turn be swallowed by a burning tenor solo from Paul Williamson. This cycle of alternating groove and atmospherics continues, lending the album a dream-like quality, emphasised by the slide guitar of the other new member, Lucas Michailidis. Howard Cairns (bass, concertina), Ray Pereira (percussion) and Rajiv Jayaweera (drums) remain from the last incarnation, ensuring the rhythms have the band’s distinctive lilt and sparkle, despite the dramatic change wrought by the arrival of Odamura’s koto and bass koto.