Nightports with Betamax is the second experiment of the band with expanding results throughout various genres. The purpose of every experiment is to test whether a certain hypothesis works or not. However, an experiment may also aim to answer a “what-if” question, without a specific expectation about what the experiment reveals, or to confirm prior results.
With that simple wording around what to expect out of an experiment, we proceed to value the listening process of Nightports albums!
But before that let’s find out who Nightports are.
We’re talking about a collaborative project between musician-producers Adam Martin and Mark Slater, based around the concept of sonic restriction.
In each manifestation of the project (three albums so far, two of them will be discussed further here), only sounds created by the featured musician can be used. No other sound sources are permitted in the work.
The sounds created are focused on the amplification of the characteristics of each of the collaborating artists. By translating, distorting, and transforming the input into something completely new, they construct a complex sonic weave making each experimentation a celebration of the featuring artists’ special taste, that still bears the watermark of its origin.
Their first attempt was released in 2018 and it was a collaboration with English jazz pianist, Matthew Bourne on a range of various pianos.
Very much in demand as a collaborator, Bourne has his fingerprints on a huge number of projects, having worked with artists as diverse as John Zorn, Annette Peacock, Nostalgia 77, Amon Tobin, and Broadway Project.
His delicate playing can be intense to frenetic, lyrical, and anarchic -at times- all in equal measure. Nightports production skills compliments and elevates this unpredictable pianist to a top-notch level presenting a monumental album of contemporary jazz experimentations.
- White Shirted
- This Trip
- Look Me In The Eye
- Fragile Years
Get Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne here
Following that -and around 2018 again- we have this year’s release, a collaboration with the drummer and percussionist Betamax, the rhythmic backbone of sonic explorers The Comet is Coming.
Recorded one day of February 2018 at Malcolm Catto’s Quatermass Sound Lab studio, Betamax maintains his characteristic interplanetary trajectory in his playing, enhancing his lines of thought within a tangled web of cables, microphones, and vintage equipment.
- I’ll Tell You What’s Happening
Get Nightports w/ Betamax here
Martin and Slater set about decoding the recorded results of that day
and within the depths of Betamax’s drum takes, they found hidden melodies, traces of chords, certain structures and bass lines that distilled, and enriched, delivering an unexpected percussive momentum with rich emotional impact.
An interesting result with fully improvised, spontaneous drum input, stretched, manipulated, and exaggerated, leading to an otherworldly sound that is neither improvised nor constructed but absolutely thrilling.
Both experiments nailed it, with the featuring artists being a crucial part of the overall mood shape.
I’m already looking forward to Nighports’ next collaboration, but until then both of these albums will hardly stop spinning in my turntable.