SPEAKERS CORNER QUARTET – “Further Back Than The Beginning” 12″ EP
Speakers Corner Quartet started as the house band at the infamous hip-hop/spoken-word open-mic night Speakers’ Corner in Brixton, London. In the beginning the prerequisite of the quartet was to deliver beats to emcees/lyricists at the all-night open-mic sessions. Imperceptibly the quartet started writing their autochthonous compositions. It was instantaneously envisaged that the quartet had an extended aptitude that transcended backing lyricists. The anomalous line-up (cello, flute, contrabass and drums) required an aberrant approach to composition – using single lines en masse to create chord structures rather than utilizing a committed harmony instrument. Influences include Zakir Hussain, Olivier Messiaen, Sun Ra, MF Doom to name but a few; the unique sound of the Speakers Corner Quartet is almost impossible to pigeon-hole. An amalgam of Asian-classical-jazz-hip-hop, this is true mulatto music. For this reason, the Speakers Corner Quartet are part of a new movement of musicians who call their music 12tone.
“Further Back Than The Beginning” is the incipient E.P. from the Speakers Corner Quartet. This E.P. is the anterior project for the quartet, a precursor to the album for prospective release later in the year. The product was recorded and mixed by Ahmad Dayes and Jesal Padia in a contemporary home grown savoir-faire and elucidates the philosophy of the quartet and 12tone C.I.C.
1. “Angkor Vat” set’s the scene, composed in 5/4 it is a true east and west fusion, with rotund grooves it moves with omnipotence; the cello creates a foundation for the affecting flute to work over, the bass then brings solidity to the composition.
2. “Chichen Itza” is another amalgamation the world over with echoes deep in Asia; there is a certain hip-hop feel to the groove despite being in 7/8.
3. “King” is the hiatus of the E.P. a welcome break from the two previous hard-hitters. “King” grows from the beginning to the end dynamically, a nice halfway point to the release.
4. “9/8” is a J Dilla-influenced Saharan swinger in the time signature of 9/8. After the initial hip-hop groove it drops into a ride groove with an expeditious descending flute line. The composition then breaks down into a chord-based breakdown that finally mushrooms into a solo frenzy just before the outro.
5. “Simply Put…” was originally written to support the legendary Herbie Hancock at the Royal Festival Hall, one of the most distinguished venues in the capital. A highly melodic piece with strong concept, a palpitating rhythm section breakdown which then flows into another ebullient solo section. The track was fundamentally composed around a Herbie Hancock sample that was then abandoned for copyright purposes, although the name of the piece came from this sample “…simply put…” This E.P. is a taster of things to come, the genesis of something astronomical.
This ensemble is playing music to help people. Music is a public service and the quartet are firm believers in the mental, physical and spiritual power of the idiom. The main aim of the group is to relay truth, wisdom and energy to the listener and allow inspiration to flower. Speakers’ Corner Quartet trust that through expression, universal transcendence can and will take place.
1. Angkor Vat
2. Simply Put…
3. Chichen Itza