Wednesday 18 August 2021

'Water & Light' by Archie the Goldfish

'Water & Light' is the new EP release from Archie the Goldfish released through the UK's Funkiwala Records.

Headed up by guitarist Chris Bestwick and trumpeter Graeme Flowers, the duo have assembled an excellent guest list for their five-track EP which presents their statement of musical intent through a wonderfully eclectic and diverse sonic palette.

UK-born but now residing in Helsinki, Chris Bestwick boasts an incredible resume that has seen him perform alongside revered names including James Taylor and Ali Slimani as well as creating music as part of the Finnish collective Timeforsoul, not to mention his releases as a solo artist in his own right.  Bestwick's credentials are matched by his Archie the Goldfish collaborator, Graeme Flowers, who can not only boast serving as a member of the funk & soul band Down to the Bone but also chalking up performances with the Brand New Heavies and Kyle Eastwood among countless more names.

Musically, 'Water & Light' is a real treat.  The music throughout is indicative of the vast and vibrant styles and genres Bestwick & Flowers have celebrated over their lengthy careers and the EP masterfully pulls together the immeasurable wealth of experience accumulated between the two.  Through varied and dynamic compositions, Bestwick & Flowers prove themselves adept at presenting their free-flowing and all-encompassing vision with the EP opener acting as a perfect example - the high-energy, jazz-funk nature of 'On a Summer's Day', made all the more unique with its almost trip-hop-esque inspired production, sets the tone brilliantly.

With featured guests which include bassist Aidan Thorne and vocalist Sarah Winton, Archie the Goldfish's core line-up sees Flowers and Bestwick joined throughout the EP by vocalist Nadia Basurto who soars with exquisite performances over what is such tailor-made production.  Basurto effortlessly adapts to the ever-changing shifts in styles and moods, excelling on tracks like the aforementioned bold opener to the sublime soul of 'Changing Places'.  The quartet is rounded out by pianist and Funkiwala co-founder Kishon Khan who provides lush textures via his contributions on Rhodes duties.  

And then of course there is the titular and proverbial hero of the story, Archie the Goldfish.  Some years ago now, the city council of Monza, Italy, suggested that keeping fish in curved bowls was cruel due to the distorted view of reality they are presented with.  Notable physicist Stephen Hawking weighed into the argument posing the philosophical question, what *is* reality, and how do we know that we have an undistorted perspective ourselves.  A worthy retort.  I suspect 'Water & Light' is very much Archie's view of the world as he sees it and he basks in those intimate moments of beauty and learns from its often harsh inevitabilities.  But all in all - whether Archie's perspective is distorted or not - 'Water & Light' does demonstrate the magic captured around us in the everyday of life and this project reaffirms just how special it all really is.

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