Ishmael Ensemble is the project of multi-instrumentalist, producer and DJ Pete Cunningham. The band feature Jake Spurgeon (modular synth, keys, sarod), Yazz Ahmed (flugelhorn), Ross Hughes (bass clarinet, alto flute), Rory O’Gorman (drums), Stephen Mullins (guitar), Jackson Lapes (percussion).
He announced the release of Severn Songs 3, the third in a 7” vinyl trilogy inspired by Bristol, its surrounding regions and the River Severn. It is out on February 15th, 2019 via Severn Songs Records. Watch the official video for the track “The River (Reprise)” which features Yazz Ahmed.
‘Severn Songs 3’ pays homage the mighty river itself, in both title and mood. Field recordings from the banks of another iconic river – the Ganges – made by keyboardist and co-writer Jake Spurgeon meander in and out of focus, whilst celestial percussion ushers in the full-bodied tone of celebrated jazz trumpeter Yazz Ahmed’s horn. The track climaxes in true Ishmaelian fashion with a whirlwind of pulsating synthesizers, crashing drums and hypnotic brass flurries, before easing back into the dulcet rhythm of oars lapping through water.
On the flip, a reprise takes the listener on a much gentler ride. However, the tension and dynamics of this twin version are still very much apparent. Throughout the release, an array of new instruments open up in Cunningham’s armoury; most notably bass clarinet, alto-flute and the sarod – leaving the listener just a few strings shy of a full orchestral experience.