“Music is nothing else but wild sounds civilized into time and tune.” ― Thomas Fuller
Debut record ‘How We Cope’ by group Loose Leaf seeks to prove that music can, in fact, be both civilized and uncivilized, tamed and wild, timeful and timeless, tuneful and tuneless – that these qualities, both opposed yet in harmony, best reflect our tumultuous nature and the surroundings we dwell within.
If ever there were a group of musicians up to the task it is bassist Helen Svoboda, drummer Dylan Van Der Schyff, saxophonist and leader Andrew Saragossi. Recorded at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne in August of 2022, Loose Leaf’s experimental jazz sound is given free reign as the album oscillates between penned compositions and free improvisation – the latter being denoted as numerical journeys.
This back and forth structurally gives listeners pockets within the runtime to gain their breath and cleanse their aural palate. A concern whenever the words ‘experimental’ and ‘textural’ co-exist in an album description is that there is texture and experimentation for their own sake, autrement dit a lack of musicality and soul.
However ‘How We Cope’ avoids this naval gazing pitfall and presents an honest and confident stride into experimental creativity. The warmth with which the album has been recorded and mixed, incorporated with the instrumental representation of sounds in nature, make ‘How We Cope’ a beautifully meditative and transcendent listen.
While this is a new group and a debut album, Andrew’s thumbprint of inventiveness on the page and on the horn is perceptible. Alongside his lilting and explosive expression, Dylan’s effervescent kit stylings and Helen’s impressive bowing technique and commanding voice on the bass come together to provide, on each measure, intrigue, delight and wonderment to the ear.
Finding a comfort in the sonic world of Loose Leaf with repeated listens, the album dares you to take up a mantle of striving, in place of facile melodic listening. This, without straying into the truly absurd or arduous.
I would urge you to block out some time, free yourself from distraction, find a supremely comfortable position and listen to the album in full. Experience the magical expansion of time and weightless flight of your inner being as the band shows us all ‘How We Cope’.