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Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell has taken yet another musical detour, this time collaborating with Essex-based duo Masal on an incredible new album of ambient, astral jazz.Tidal Love Numbers is released via Sonic Cathedral on May 19, and is made up of four mesmerising, meandering instrumental tracks that combine Andy’s incredible guitar playing with analogue synths and harp.Andy’s history in Ride, Oasis and numerous other bands is well-known, and his solo career has also taken off; his most recent album, Flicker, was one of last year’s finest. Masal, meanwhile, came together in Leigh-on-Sea after a chance meeting in a charity shop.Al Johnson has performed and released records as Alien for a number of years now, while Oz Simsek studied classical harp while growing up in Turkey, before joining a jazz band. Since relocating to the UK she has worked with the likes of Viv Albertine and Gazelle Twin. The duo connected over a shared love of electronic and world music and released their debut album Charity Shop in 2020.The collaboration with Andy came about after they supported him at an Andy Bell Space Station gig in Chelmsford during Independent Venue Week at the start of 2022. They got chatting on the night, and bonded over Promises, the collaboration between Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra.“After hearing it, I felt there was something in that area for me, if I found the right collaborators,” says Andy, explaining how the hugely acclaimed 2021 release was effectively the starting point for this new project. “So, I was kind of on the lookout from that point. I’ve always loved the sound of harp music – Alice Coltrane and Joanna Newsom are both firm favourites – and so, when I met Oz and Al, it seemed like it could be a good combination.” “The moment Andy mentioned his love of the Floating Points/Pharoah Sanders album, I knew we were thinking along the same lines,” says Oz. “As a lifelong shoegazer, Al already shared a common musical background and direction, but we got chatting over texts and emails and very soon we were exchanging musical ideas.” Andy was inspired by the likes of William Basinski, Harold Budd, Ariel Kalma’s Osmose and Babe, Terror’s Ancient M’ocean, while Masal shared their love for Prince Lasha, Turkish prog and folk, medieval harp music and Guitarrorists, a 1991 compilation of outsider guitar sounds. The end result – sympathetically mastered by Andy’s Ride bandmate Mark Gardener – lands somewhere between Mary Lattimore, psych-folk guitarist Sandy Bull and Spacemen 3’s Dreamweapon, with the four pieces subtly ebbing and flowing from pastoral picking to psychedelic bliss to noisy drones and back again, all punctuated by Oz’s heavenly harp.
Despite their length, the tracks never outstay their welcome, and their stream-of-consciousness titles add to the sense of intrigue.
“I wanted super-long titles like Felt,”explains Andy.“And I wanted to cram into them as much imagery and emotion as possible.”
It worked – this is an incredibly satisfying trip; as focused and vivid as it is fuzzy and vague. It’s time to float away with the Tidal Love Numbers.
Released: May 2023 Cat: SCR245 Label: Sonic Cathedral
1. Murmuration Of Warm Dappled Light On Her Back After Swimming 2. The Slight Unease Of Seeing A Crescent Moon In Blue Midday Sky 3. Tidal Love Conversations In That Familiar Golden Orchard 4. A Pyramid Hidden By Centuries Of Neon Green Undergrowth