Credits and About
Ant Law Guitar
Mike Chillingworth Alto Saxophone
Ivo Neame Piano
Tom Farmer Double Bass
James Maddren Drums
Recorded on 29, 30 and 31st November 2017 by George Murphy at Eastcote Studios, London
Mixed by Fernando Lodeiro in July 2018
Mastered by Peter Beckmann in August 2018
Life I Know is the third and much anticipated album from British guitarist and composer Ant Law. Utilising some of the finest musicians in British Jazz today, Ant Law has crafted a masterpiece, merging wide-ranging stylistic and genre influences, virtuosic musicianship and melodic accessibility into one career-defining album. Abounding in warmth and energy, Life I Know is a deeply experienced musical expression of all the influences that surround Ant: his sense of community, culture, human interaction and creative spirit. It’s these influences that inspire Ant’s ambition and motivation to create.
Ant Law musical journey hasn’t followed the traditional path. A BSc in Physics with Music at Edinburgh, a summer semester at Berklee and a further two years gigging and Ant threw himself into the London scene a decade ago, playing with contemporaries, listening and learning. Two albums of his own, and three with Tim Garland’s band, much touring and hundreds of gigs later, he’s finally ready to release his new recording.
Although there had been a period of four years since his last album, there was never a rush to release Life I Know. As Ant explains:
‘When I moved to London a decade ago, I needed to establish myself. The first two albums helped me say “I am here” and to start working more. I reached out to artists I admired and developed my compositional approach. The resulting four tours as a leader were tremendously enlightening, but I knew I had to develop my instrumental approach and my sound world.
I became much busier as a sideman, recording and touring with groups like Partikel and artists like Tim Garland, but all the while I was composing, “charging up”, for this new recording project. Drawing new experiences and music together is what this album is about. I wanted to make it count – so I began exploring the new music in live contexts with my group.
Immortalising music in a recording environment is not to be taken lightly – choosing takes, mixing, mastering – these things have taken time – after all, they are the audio manifestation of self-realisation. Now, the timing is right, you can hear it in the music!’
And as for the music, Ant describes the album, track by track…
“This album draws together many aspects of my life. In some cases this is a literal thing – for the closing track I invited Tim Garland to play a soprano solo on a framework that really suits his aesthetic. In other cases this is more metaphysical and involves my imagination. Each piece in the collection is inspired by a different experience. I wanted to have an exciting opening track, and I chose Movies – inspired by, well, a trip to the movies. Whilst many guitarists playing jazz steadily shed all their non-jazz influences, I haven’t, yet. This is an exciting rock piece with a rock guitar solo. Searching is a piece inspired by natural beauty – in particular riding the train up the east coast of England/Scotland, south of Edinburgh. As the railtrack gets progressively nearer to the sea on that bit of coastline, the drama and infinity of the North Sea’s expanse becomes more apparent. The piece reflects this as it builds in scale and dynamic. It is based around an unusual 6 bar harmony – this uneven phrase correlates to the beautiful (but uneven) natural landscape. Aquilinus begins in a similar fashion (the word means Eagle-like). It eventually settles into a jazz-style form with heads and solos. Tim Garland joins on this piece, reinforcing the soaring melody and taking a solo. Pure Imagination – by removing nearly all the chords in this piece I wanted to leave more to the imagination of the listener. The arrangement is vast and spacious. In fact the lyric “There is no life I know, that compares to pure imagination” is what inspired the title of the album. Angular rhythmic frameworks (such as that forming the basis of Laurvin Glaslowe) are shared by South Indian music and contemporary jazz styles. This was the perfect piece to mesh together those influences and draw on my extended musical community. I invited Asaf Sirkis to compose and perform the konnakol introduction. The Act Itself is the darkest piece, a long-form contemporary classical type thing. The title refers to the psychological relationship between thoughts and actions, and which of those defines us. Some of the aspects of the music are fantastic and imagined, others are more realistic and literal. Credits emerged out of a solo guitar piece I wrote and the arrangement was done very spontaneously in the studio, including a rare example of me playing the piano. I wanted to have a euphoric and warm piece to finish on, reflecting the resolution of the album, and an antidote to some of the more dissonant and dark music in the preceding track. This piece plays as the credits roll…
With a new home at Edition Records, Ant Law is entering into a new and exciting stage of his career, one where his talents will be recognised internationally – as an extraordinarily innovative guitarist, and as Life I Know proves, a fine composer, arranger and band leader.
"They cook up some boisterous echoes of prog-rockery, as in the opening Movies, but they can also shift deftly between the clamorous and the limpid"