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'Tomorrow's Gift'   

-  Label: 'Fire Records'
-  Genre: 'Ambient' -  Release Date: '1st December 2017'

Our Rating:
This collaboration between these two experimental UK duos is the fruit of an intense recording session in Bradford, Yorkshire which resulted in a massive 48 hours of largely improvised material.

With the help of Misha Hering behind the mixing board, this has thankfully been reduced to 48 minutes with a few choice overdubs to help build or maintain the flow.

The result is dauntingly billed as a collection of "slowly unravelling coils of oscillations and intermittent fragments of semi-formed loops", a description that, perhaps deliberately, is likely to put off mainstream listeners. This is a pity because, although it's a record rich in abstract experimentation, it is also very accessible and has a warm. reassuring quality.

Virginia Wing (Sam Pillay /Alice Merida Richards) and Xam Duo (Matthew Benn/Christopher Duffin) cite their influences as Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane's spiritual jazz together with the eclectic genius of recently deceased Can founder-member Holgar Czukay. If you are familiar with the work of any or all of these artists, the content of 'Tomorrow's Gift' will come as no surprise.

Nothing is intended to be easy listening but at the same time it is not designed as a confrontational mix.

Almost half of playing time of the seven track album is contained in the opening piece, Birch Polygon where swirling drones mingle with a ghostly saxophone, occasional murmured (and indecipherable) words and soothing choral voices. The dreamy effect is pleasantly hypnotic.

The highlight of the shorter pieces is the "throbbing ambience" of the optimistically titled Good Roads Fair Weather where a drum beat metronome plus more saxophone are prominent and in which the opening line - "I've seen the future unfolding like a dream" - sets the mood. More drum'n'sax rhythms are also the basis of Person To Person.

The two minute Melon Pan reminds me of the jumble of voices and sound you might hear at a busy railway station and although the whole sonic journey ends in A Tunnel, the light at the other end suggests freedom rather than an oncoming train.
  author: Martin Raybould

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VIRGINIA WING / XAM DUO - Tomorrow's Gift