Simon Little – Rejectamenta (ambient/ jazz)

self released, 2011, DD EP, 21m 28s, £name your price

This is a five track collection of material Simon Little elected not to include on his forthcoming second album. These decisions were not made because the tunes didn’t make the grade, but because he felt they weren’t a good fit: they are, however, a good fit with each other, and represent a convincing development of his work on Mandala.

Like Mandala, Rejectamenta features ambient soundscapes that Little accretes by layering looped sequences of sound he generates with his bass guitar and a variety of effects; a bass guitar is capable of making a huge range of noises, and very little of this sounds like bass per se, although some tunes do have basslines in the conventional sense. Most also feature Little’s mid to upper register melodic improvisation.

The upper register work here sounds to my ear like a significant advance on the earlier album: it is full of meaningful melodic content, and is frankly less noodly. Little’s rapid fire soloing on his first release sounded great, but functioned essentially as a texture: here, even when he puts his foot on the gas, he has something to say. It is predominantly in a minor modal or pentatonic vein, and it would be good to hear him venture into spicier territory at times, but there are some interesting ideas, such as the very folky cast his melody adopts on ‘must get out [more]’.

Texturally and timbrally he is consistently inventive, and shows a good command of his technological resources: particularly effective are the fifths effect in the lead part of the aforementioned track, and the slapped ring-modulator sound in ‘the rhythmatist’. If this is the stuff he rejected, I can’t wait to hear his next release!

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