I’m always fascinated by what can be done with a loop station. Maybe it’s because it starts out as a puzzle, with each new layer building upon the last until you can finally recognize what song’s being played. Or maybe it’s just me being amazed at how easy it is (or at least how easy the most talented people make it seem) for one person to turn themselves into a full band. Or maybe I’m just a huge Reggie Watts fan. That could be it too. Whatever the case may be, I’m always eager to see what someone has done with something familiar just by building it in a new way.
Irrational Confidence favorite Simon Wright (You may remember him from our review of The Simon Wright Band’s excellent Live at 52) hooked up with one of his old bandmates, Andy V, to play a series of shows in Koh Tao, Thailand and did a ton of cool loop covers while infusing their signature blues/funk stylings.They’ve packaged it up in a neat five-song highlight reel and are giving it away for free. My favorite track on the album (and I may be a bit biased due to how much I love the original) is the duo’s cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” Wright’s lead vocals are so smooth and sweet that you can’t help but be drawn in and Andy V’s harmonies fit in and don’t ever once feel like they’re just along for the ride. The loops with Wright’s guitar and Andy’s keyboard work add layers upon layers to one of my favorite old soul songs all building to a magnificent saxophone solo from Andy V. While I was prepping for this review this was the song I kept coming back to, and that says a lot about how well constructed all of the loops and other instrumentation are.
The other standout track is the one original track on the album, a blues jam that makes use of Andy V’s best Ray Charles impression on the keyboard while Simon handles beatbox loops and eventually guitar and vocals as well. It’s everything I’ve come to expect from the Simon Wright Band, a jazzy instrumental, some well-crafted funk/soul vocals and a beat that I’m more than happy to shuffle along to no matter where I am when it comes on. The loop stations just add another level to the considerable creativity that these two artists clearly have as it gives them practically unlimited space to work with and it shows that they’ve been honing this tool set for a while when one man with a saxophone quickly turns into a whole horn section.
I can’t recommend Simon Wright and company enough. I loved what he did with a full band and what he and Andy have accomplished as a duo is equally impressive. From the tracks I’ve mentioned to their cover of “Wanna Be Starting Something” and to the rest of the album, they’ve put together something special. If you missed out on them the first time I posted their music, don’t let them slip by you again. You can hear the Al Green cover below and make sure to check out the rest of Live on Koh Tao on the Simon Wright Soundcloud page where you can download the whole project for free.