ALBUM REVIEW | Pure Phase Ensemble – Live At Spacefest


ARTIST: Pure Phase Ensemble 4

RELEASE: Live At Spacefest

RELEASE DATE: 08/08/15

RECORD COMPANY: Nasiono Records

The annual Gdansk based ‘Spacefest’ music festival has been held religiously over the past few years during the usually depressive month of December with numerous select musicians from Poland & abroad gathering together to take part in a special workshop series during the festival. They collectively compose a concert’s worth of music which they then present live to the festival-goers. Each year this unique performance is recorded live and subsequently released as an LP.

‘Pure Phase Ensemble’ is an international music collective created especially for the SpaceFest festival & is organised by the Nasiono Association. The programme for each workshop is jointly curated by Ray Dickaty a British saxophonist improviser & former member of Spiritualized (1997-2002) & Karol Schwarz (KSAS) who also manages Nasiono Records. Along with these two key figures every festival involves a new musical director – a legendary, internationally recognised musician, who is invited to co-curate the workshop!

During the latest SpaceFest recording of ‘Pure Phase Ensemble’ Mark Gardener, guitarist & frontman of legendary shoegazers RIDE occupied this seat of honour alongside Ray Dickaty (Musical Director) – saxophone, flute, korg mono tribe,  Jacek Rezner (Wilga) – drums, Kamil Hordyniec (Wilga) – bass, Michał Pydo (Hatifnats) – voice, guitar, Michał ‘Kostek’ Stolc (Cisza nocna) – synths, backing vocals & Karol Schwarz (KSAS) – guitar, voice, korg monotribe, phase.  Some of the past participants to have sat in the hot seat include Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Chris Olley (Six By Seven), Steve Hewitt (ex Placebo), and Jaime Harding (Marion).


This totally live & brilliantly spontaneous album opens up with a immensely calming track entitled ‘Intro’. For me this is the psychedelic key that unlocks a door to a sonically entrancing world of beautiful shimmering goodness. ‘Morning Rise’ is reminiscent at times to early ‘RIDE’ but with a splattering of instrumental ‘Spiritualised’. This track is interspersed with electronic buzzes, lazy addictive drum patterns & wall after wall of epic reverberation filled with dreamy gazing vocals courtesy of the legendary Mark Gardner. Before we have time to take breath a swirling building monolith of a track entitled ‘Notaki’ meanders onto the musical canvas. ‘Notaki’ is a whopping 15 minutes plus of mind bending spaced out sound waves that loop & arc through the musical stratosphere with aplomb whilst straddling a steading beat of monumental proportions! There is a subtle hint of menacing experimental ‘Radiohead’ running through this impressive tracks core but it’s the addictively spellbinding vocal arrangement that keeps this listener engaged with the track. Simply Stunning!

Pure Phase Ensemble 4 [Photo Pawel Jozwiak]

[Photo Pawel Jozwiak]

Up next is ‘Zostán Na Noc’ – a wonderfully constructed track filled with peaks & troughs of sonic delight that build & fade with shockingly explosive brilliance. Definitely one for the headphones! Track 5 ‘Peters Song’ is a slower affair with its creeping menacing vocal arrangement intertwined with psychedelic flair & the beautiful soothing jazz influenced sounds emanating from the brilliant Saxophone! Track 6 entitled ‘Doing My Head In’ is a cinematic slice of psychedelic brilliance that floats on a dreamy wave of beautifully entrancing sonic goodness.

Pure Phase Ensemble 4 - Mark closeup [Photo Pawel Jozwiak]

[Photo Pawel Jozwiak]

The closing track on this epic live album by ‘Pure Phase Ensemble’ is probably my favourite of this whole release. ‘Happy Dancing Woman’ does exactly as it says on the tin. This swirling mass of reverberating sound is a slice of bright shimmering happiness in a world of menacing dark.  We were also pleased to find out that friends of Primal Music – Canadian-Ukrainian dreampop duo ‘Ummagma’ had created an exclusive radio edit for ‘Happy Dancing Woman’ which does not disappoint & is worth every second of your time.

Pure Phase Ensemble 4 -inside




Del Chaney

Del Chaney

Del Chaney has spent the last three years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze Dream Pop Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. His other arm – Primal Radio – has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.

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