ABOUT GROUP

 
 

About Group formed to make a record of improvised music for the Treader label in 2009, having never played together as a whole before the day it took them to make their first album. They then supported Gang Gang Dance at London's Dingwalls for their debut live performance, and followed this with a show at Ornette Coleman's Meltdown Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. About Group also played Glastonbury Festival 2010 and took part in the Calling Out of Context festival at London's ICA, in which audiences were invited to watch the creative process of a recording and mixing session.


Start And Complete, About Group’s second album, was recorded in one day at Abbey Road, Studio 2. The songs were written by Taylor over the last few years and some, but not all of them, were given out as a CD in piano/vocal demo form for the other members of the group to hear a few days before the studio date. The idea was that no one band member would know the songs well enough to have specific parts, or be prevented from playing something like the first ideas that came into their head.


What followed was a collection of songs created in an atmosphere of close listening and instinctive group interplay. The instruments used are a rotating line up of drums, Wurlitzer, organ, piano, electric guitar and electronic textures, ensuring About Group combine a live-in-the-studio band feel around Taylor’s yearning vocal lines. The band’s instincts for experimentation make for subtle shifts in direction and tone, particularly when Thomas’ electronic flourishes move centre stage, blurring the line between improvisation and songwriting structure.


On 'Don’t Worry' and 'Lay Me Down', Taylor’s keyboard vamps, along with Coxon and Taylor's wah guitars and the shuffling beat, suggest what a vintage Muscle Shoals session might sound like in the abstract. And on their re-interpretation of Harvey Averne/Terry Riley’s 'You’re No Good', the band stretch out over ten minutes. Locking into a groove they cut loose into a sustained Kosmiche workout, propelled by one of Hayward’s signature and unique drum parts and Coxon’s almost-soloing on the guitar – showing they are as adept at a head-nodding jam as the elegant constructions of the album’s shorter pieces.


Recorded in a day at Abbey Road, Start and Complete was then mixed over three days on Konny Plank's old desk, by Mark Ralph with John and Alexis, at his studio in London, and small overdubs such as bass guitar were added here.