Reuben Lewis & I Hold the Lion’s Paw

December 3, 2021

Lost in Place
Earshift Music EAR 042

Consider what would happen if Sun Ra met up with a poetic antifa Aussie in a drone-laden 1970s disco and you’ll get an idea of the scope and sound of Lost in Place. Conceived of by Melbourne-based trumpeter/sound manipulator Reuben Lewis as much as an assemblage as a composition or improvisation, the CD’s 11 tracks leap and loop through fragment of processed buzzes, jump-cut timbre snatches, otherworldly burbles and unrelenting beats.

With a background in creating music for dancers, theatres and large ensembles Lewis’ modulated sound layering includes contributions from three horn players, three drummers, three bassists plus two guitarists and a vocalist. Unlike more standard programs Rock-like guitar flanges are rarely upfront unlike the coiled beats that come from the rhythm section. Additionally Emily Bennett’s vocalizing, which critiques local Aussie politics from a leftish position, is often subsumed by plunger brass and multi-tracked percussion splatters. Furthermore, although a snatch of Ra’s “Space is the Place” is heard in the program’s second half, processed crackles, wavering drones, ring-modulator-like gonging, processed organ-like shimmies, shrieking string sul tasto and car motor-like rumbles actually define the album’s individuality.

Overall the transitions from style to style and gene to genre means the ensemble is essentially a single instrument vibrating at the same time melding parts into a horizontal process. That means that a track like “losing space” introduced with a combination lion’s roar and a James Jamerson-like bass line, soon slides into cross-patterning between muted electric trumpet half-valve squeezes and guitar frails, is finally pushed by harder percussion ruffs back to a variation on the feline growl beginning,

Positioning itself firmly within a POMO soundscape while projecting enough BPM to attract George Clinton fanciers Lewis & I Hold the Lion’s Paw have created an individualist session. It suggests that this Antipodean Simbas should roar more often,

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. finding place 2. place in space 3. losing place 4. rest in place 5. space in place 6. losing space 7. place for space 8. in your place 9. fixed in space 10. Queensland 11. lost in place

Personnel: Reuben Lewis (trumpet, synthesizers, pedals, samples); Jordan Murray (trombone); Cheryl Durongpisitkul (alto saxophone); Julius Schwing, Geoff Hughes (guitar); Freya Schack-Arnott (cello); Tom Lee (bass); Mick Meagher, David Brown (electric bass); Ronny Ferella, Michael McNab, Maria Moles (drums); Emily Bennett (voice)