Rob Edgar spoke to guitarist Ant Law about his new album Entanglement which is released on February 11th, with a launch gig at Pizza Express Dean St. on March 11th...
“It harks back to my physics days” says Ant Law when asked about the meaning behind the name of his new album Entanglement. “Quantum Entanglement is something I learned about in the fourth year of my degree” (Law studied physics with some modules focusing on music at University and spent a term at Berklee College of Music in Boston). “I'll explain; if you shine light through certain crystals, the photons emerge polarised (certain particles might be 'up', others 'down' etc.) you can separate the photons by huge distances and if you alter one of them, the other alters straight away. It's amazing, it happens instantaneously. Anyway, I likened that to a few more romantic analogues; twins for example, if one of them is in a car crash in Australia, the other one knows that something is up.”
Talking to Law gives the impression that this is an intelligent, thoughtful composer and player who takes a holistic view of music, being inspired by and borrowing from all manner of different disciplines. Kanda Jhati, the first track on Entanglement, borrows from the ancient Indian rhythms (the 'deci-talas'). “Ages ago I realised that rhythm wasn't one of my strong points.” explains Law, “so I tried to take in all roots in approach to studying it including studying South-Indian rhythm with an amazing drummer called Taalis. I was asking him about quintuplets which for me were untouched territory I was asking him for some quintuplet exercises which formed the base of the the song. There are some other rhythms there but they're all sub-divided into five which is what 'Kanda Jhati' means."
Doing things differently seems to be a common theme for Law; even the way he tunes his guitar is a little out of the ordinary, “I tune in perfect fourths [E A D G C F, instead of the usual E A D G B E] the whole thing is a little complicated and I actually wrote a book about it but, putting it briefly: it makes playing the guitar easier and also makes you different from 99% of other guitarists out there in that it opens up new ways of playing (in fact there are some chords that can only be played in this tuning) but there are also some things that you can't do quite so easily.” (we recorded a short demonstration of some of these techniques below. The recording is not studio quality.)
Law is a gifted and versatile musician. The breadth of his interests, both within music and outside, have produced a varied, diverse, yet very personal album, 13 Moons (a track that uses one of the chords from the demonstration) for example is ethereal yet crystal clear, simple yet stimulating.
Entanglement is released on '33 Jazz' records on the 11th of February 2013, is funded by the Jazz Services Recording Subsidy Scheme and features:
Ant Law (guitar)
Michael Chillingworth (saxophones)
John Turville (piano)
Tom Farmer (bass)
James Maddren (drums)