Alex Crispin & Nicholas Whittaker    ‘Irian Jaya’  (2020)

1. Escarpment
2. Mesa
3. Tephra
4. Equinoctial Storms 
Alex Crispin ⋯ Metallophone, Oberheim Matrix, Rhodes Electric Piano, 12-String Acoustic Guitar, Casiotone 1000p, Percussion
Nicholas Whittaker ⋯ Alto Saxophone, Percussion
Recorded and Produced by Alex Crispin

From Klaus Schulze to the ECM sound, some of the most transcendent music can seem simultaneously glacial and warm. ‘Irian Jaya’ achieves this over four spacious pieces recorded in 2016. Alex Crispin and Nick Whittaker have known each other for three decades, two of which have been spent making music together. This journey has taken them from bedroom recordings in their childhood home town, via the Brighton progressive rock band, Diagonal, and Whittaker’s guest appearances on Crispin’s Baron albums, to the latter’s studio in Nottingham where they began life as a duo.

The album's sound is singularly personal but the debts to Harold Budd, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Steve Roach and Paul Horn are lovingly paid. Crispin plays metallophone and synthesisers, providing a bedrock for 'Irian Jaya' that is as sensitive as it is esoteric: one moment evoking the momentousness of sacred prayer bells in ‘Escarpment’, the next, toy-box hypnosis in ‘Mesa’. Whittaker’s intimate saxophone slow-waltzes above this, percolating distant cloudiness in ‘Equinoctial Storms’, and hazy, earnest lyricism in ‘Tephra’. The latter features percussion from both members alongside Crispin's 12-string guitar, in a sensuous mise en scene of tropical ambient new age jazz.