Label: Self produced, 2018
Personnel – Trevor Hogg: saxophone; Don Scott: guitar; Michael Herring: bass; Nick Fraser: drums.
Canadian jazz quartet Peripheral Vision is known for breaking off into modern sound-shapes and bringing influences from a variety of genres, with a predominance of jazz and rock. The band is co-led by guitarist Don Scott and bassist Michael Herring, whose inspiration often falls into art, literature, and standup comedy, being rounded out with saxophonist Trevor Hogg and drummer Nick Fraser. Their fourth outing, More Songs About Error and Shame, comprises seven well-worked compositions (Herring penned four and Scott three) dressed in shimmering textural hues to attain a uniform balance between written score and improv.
Kicking off with resolute unisons, “The Blunder” builds a sturdy rock-based foundation after Fraser’s crisp diction of hi-hat and snare drum gets hooked to Herring’s insouciant bass drives. Without wasting time, Scott whips up playful phrases packed with hot patterns, having supportive sax-bass fills in the flank. All that jim-jam ends up in a bass soliloquy turned into an odd-metered groove, which serves as a lush pavement for Hogg’s explorations.
The groovy “Syntax Error” summons a well-oriented bass to work in tandem with the drums. The improvisers are Scott and Hogg, who build interesting crescendos over circular harmonic progressions.
On “And the Metaphysical Concept of Shame”, the quartet dives into a leisurely brushed pop jazz, whose freeing bass movements keep asking for a brawnier accompaniment. Instead, Scott remained immersed in glossy voicings, incurring a tri-line parallelism with Hogg and Herring for a finale that coincides with the song’s climax.
Regardless the option not to harden his sound on the previous tune, the guitarist was blatantly adventurous on “Chubby Cello”, exhibiting a searing guitar style suffused by distorted melodic cries, controlled noise, and powerful chords and riffs. Fraser’s percussive streams, sounding high and dry, granted a light bounce to the more experimental tune on the record.
Irresistible rhythmic accents can be found on “Mycelium Running”, an expeditious jazz-rock fantasy that oozes energy from all sides of the quadrilateral figure that this band represents. However, when you think this is where this band can take you in terms of rhythmic invention, you will be surprised with the danceable “Click Bait”, an exciting cooker for the closer. The initial chamber-like intonations taste like classical, and Fraser’s firm brushed drumming sets the pace moments later. After a hiatus for guitar annunciations, it veers to a profuse tropical rhythm that incites Hogg and Scott to exchange fluid ideas that are more collaborative than confrontational.
Multiple listenings provide an acquaintance with the quartet’s sound that you won’t find the first time it spins. To me, it was a slow yet enchanting absorption.
05 – Chubby Chello ► 06 - Mycelium Running ► 07 – Click Bait