René von Grünig & Mark Wingfield - Cinema Obscura
(Dark Energy Music / no catalogue number. CD Review By Chris Parker)
Featuring piano, keyboard and samples from René von Grünig and guitar from co-leader/co-composer Mark Wingfield, this is a mesmerisingly atmospheric, evocative, even (appropriately) cinematic set of music.
Its nine pieces are at once pleasingly varied in tone, texture and approach (ranging from broodingly lyrical compositions to freeish excursions laced with tasteful electronica and keyboard effects, its default position the sort of allusive, contemplative jazz that has come to be associated with ECM), and satisfyingly homogeneous, courtesy of the assured playing of the two protagonists and their carefully assembled collaborators: tenor/soprano player (and co-producer) Iain Ballamy (who provides characteristically elegant and emotive contributions throughout), bassist Yaron Stavi, and drummer Andi Mötz.
Wingfield’s is the most immediately ear-catching playing, his guitar a beguiling mix of the spiky, keening sound of Terje Rypdal and the mellower fluency of (ECM-era) Pat Metheny, but it is von Grünig who provides the vital atmospheric groundwork for each piece with his meticulous choice of textures.
Ballamy is their perfect foil, and with occasional appearances from trumpeter Christoph Leistner and flautist Mike Mower leavening an already rich soundmix, this is a subtle, often dramatic, but always wholly enjoyable album.