Album release: ‘Circa Rip Rig And Panic’ by Mark Springer / Rip Rig And Panic
Release date: 28 July 2017
Label: Exit Records
More info: Artist website
The pianist and composer Mark Springer began his career as a soloist before going on to form the critically acclaimed Bristolian post-punk/avant-jazz band Rip Rig And Panic, featuring members from The Pop Group along with Swedish/New York singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry. When they split after three dynamic years together The Times commented that, “…their too-brief career will not have been in vain if it has served at least to launch the pianist Mark Springer.”
Now with four releases with Rip Rig and Panic and several solo albums to his name, including a collaborative record with Arthur Jeffes of Penguin Café, across Virgin Records and his own Exit label, Springer is lining up to release his new album ‘Circa Rip Rig And Panic’. Comprised of pieces written by Springer while in Rip Rig And Panic, the CD includes collaborations with two of his fellow Rip Riggers plus a duet with the Velvet Underground’s Nico. Circa is also further testimony to the versatile talents of Rip Rig and Panic’s bassist Sean Oliver - here on cello and vocals - who went on to co-write hits with Terence Trent D’Arby.
From the earliest part of Springer’s career his distinctive and unique sound has continued. This was born from his ability to create intense and evolving soundscapes, both through his writing or improvisation - ‘spontaneous composition’ as Springer calls it. Springer has always aimed to stretch the possibilities of what the piano is capable of doing and therefore extend the language of the instrument. This powerful physical engagement directly translates into all of his music for piano and other instruments and comes through powerfully in the new CD Circa.
This restless, continually probing, spirit has also been evidenced most recently in April 2017 with Springer playing completely new music at a special performance in Bologna, engaging the audience in a continuous energised exchange of creation and improvisation. Thriving off the risks of the unknown in his performance, this was recorded for the BBC and will be aired later this year.
On his latest solo album ‘Circa Rip Rig And Panic’ Springer transcends strict genre classification yet again. Whilst the album’s foundations are rooted in jazz, he also makes forays into the traditional classical world, as well as neo-classical and at times the avant-garde. Tracks such as ‘Walking Cello’ and ‘Oh Lonesome Train’ explore free jazz based ideas and fluid structures creating frenetic yet masterfully controlled melodies. Elsewhere tracks such as ‘Fuji Fuji’ and ‘I’ve Got To Two Hand It To You’ lean towards neo-classical themes (the latter wouldn’t feel out of place on an Erased Tapes release) whilst introducing gentle jazz phrasing. Conversely, ‘A Given Voice A Given Choice’, which features Nico’s haunting and beguiling vocals sits somewhere between the contemporary and experimental field calling to mind Scott Walker or more recently A Dead Forest Index or Savages.
Speaking about the album Springer says, “My drive in Rip Rig and Panic was to shake up the Jazz world and create a new kind of music that could break down musical boundaries, redefining the possibilities of a contemporary idea of what a band could do. Through that forum and with those great musicians I was able to explore and develop my compositions in front of a live audience. This music was created in that spirit.”
‘Circa Rip Rig And Panic’ is a testament to Springer’s creative mind and his compositional integrity, which is shown through his broad back catalogue of work from the material recorded on ‘Circa’ all the way through to his more recent solo releases, piano quintet/sextets and opera. Plus a celebration of the brilliant cohesion between the talented musicians which contributed to making the group such a force.
Albums, and indeed songs, that span so many genres are rare, and it’s even rarer that you’ll find sounds that perfectly capture such a diverse array of atmospheres and emotions as this. Mark Springer is an artist who needs no introductions, but if you’re yet to discover his work, there is no better time than now.
Press reaction to date
“Dazzlingly inventive extemporisations that variously channel Eno, John Cage, Satie, Roedelius, Bach, Philip Glass, Jan Garbarek’s Officium, Michael Nyman, Ludovico Einaudi and Max Richter into something that sounds fresh and original.” – Uncut
“It’s clear that Springer is at home playing jazz standards or going hell for leather in an improve context” – The Wire
“This is Steve Reich territory, only here with more dynamic tension and often romantic intent. Utterly beguiling.” – Jazzwise