9.20.19 by Ryan Masteller
Maybe it’s weird at first glance that our Third Kind Records pal Nicholas Langley is taking on Brighton-based free improv group the Vitamin B12, but you only need to do a second or maybe a third glance before the weirdness dissipates and this delightful new release on Strategic Tape Reserve settles in to “heavy rotation” in your exhaustively archived and organized and notated listening documentation. The second glance returns the fact that Langley was once a performing member of Alasdair Willis’s group. A third glance returns the fact that Langley is also Brighton based and continues to perform live with Hassni Malik, also a B12-er. Fourth, fifth, sixth, etc., glances not needed.
So then “Plays the Vitamin B12” is more a reimagining/remixing project taken on by Langley, which makes a lot of sense given the nature of Third Kind’s (and Strategic Tape Reserve’s) output. Langley applies a major krautrock approach here, letting passages repeat and stretch and evolve while remaining head-noddingly propulsive at almost all times. He’s certainly got an inside track on the building blocks of these songs, and he’s able to combine them into massively entertaining structures. It’s almost as if Langley is doing the B12 a favor by improving upon the originals!
I’m totally kidding there, it’s not a contest. But Langley succeeds throughout in making the Vitamin B12’s tracks sound like his own. He’s comfortable playing in this sandbox, and it shows, the jammage effortless whether it’s in perpetual motion or hanging back and taking on different watercolor tones. The result is a complete project, one both in homage to a revered group and an expansion on that group’s sound by a rogue operative. A fun rogue operative though. A fun rogue operative who is having obvious fun turning fun music into equally fun music. The funnest.
Grip it and rip it from your buds at Strategic Tape Reserve. Edition of 30. (Only 30?!?)