David Karsten Daniels & Fight The Big Bull – I Mean To Live Here Still

Release Date 21/06/2010 (Fatcat Records)

By Chris Gilliver

“I Mean To Live Here Still” is a collaboration between 4-track virtuoso and formally trained composer/musician David Karsten Daniel, and 9-piece avant-jazz collective Fight The Big Bull. The result is an album that plays like a bull fight between the meticulously ordered, melodic folk of Daniels, and the chaotic, frequently atonal noodlings of Fight The Big Bull (perversely it is Fight The Big Bull that acts like the bull, and Daniels the matador). As in “On Fields” Daniels’ simple tracks frequently get overrun by minutes of jazz improvisation leaving the listener perplexed, but fascinated as to the outcome.

The Big Bull frequently wins though, and if Daniels is supposed to be the Matador he finishes each fight bloodied and gored. And yet it is Daniels who sets the tone. If the Big Bull ends up walking all over each track, it is Daniels’ masterful grasp of song writing and melody that sets the tone, providing the heart and soul.

It is to the collaborators’ credit that this sounds like neither a jazzy folk album nor a folky jazz album – such is the standard and importance of both parties contributions. Instead it is an album that offers an uncompromising best of both worlds that will ultimately appeal to fans of both genres, as well as giving them music of exceptional quality to which they wouldn’t necessarily have normally listened. When they work together, as on “Through All Fates” or “Each Summer Sound”, something exceptional is created. When it breaks down into freeform jazz something different melodically and rhythmically is consistently offered.

Unlike so many musical collusions that end up in compromise, satisfying members of neither party, “I Mean To Live Here Still” will delight both. It is one of the finest albums to be released so far this year, and CityLifers orders you to get hold of a copy immediately. It will not disappoint.

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