Burnt Belief have always been difficult to categorize, utilizing improvisation around strong thematic compositions, ambient textural atmospherics, subtle electronics combining elements of both Progressive and Jazz/Rock blended with an intriguing undercurrent drawn from more ethnic traditions. Falling in the cracks of established genres, yet showcasing a remarkable ongoing core musical chemistry and defiantly its “own thing,” Burnt Belief is expansive yet instantly recognizable to those who know.
As with many other musical collaborations, the Covid19 pandemic rendered previously planned live and studio activity a total impossibility. However, a solid “distance working method” sharpened by three previous Burnt Belief albums has led to the remarkably natural and live sounding new album “Mutual Isolation.”
Despite working within customary musical territory, and with a similar modus operandi, “Mutual Isolation” departs from previous Burnt Belief releases as Colin Edwin elected to play double bass exclusively throughout the album’s 9 tracks, grounding the new material with an earthier, more natural resonance.
“Mutual Isolation” also allows freer than ever reign to Jon Durant’s trademark atmospheric “cloud guitar” approach, with his orchestrational guitar perspective meshing seamlessly around an increased application of his singular fretless guitar. The majority of Jon’s lead guitar parts were initially intended as “work in progress” guide performances but the finished album retains them unedited, which is a fitting tribute to Jon’s creative judgement and the spontaneity and rapidity of the album’s construction process.
As before, the core duo of Colin Edwin and Jon Durant is augmented by the addition of drummer Vinny Sabatino, who is equally at home in contrasting settings, from the free Jazz tumult of “Where it All Began” to the precise rhythmic tensions of North African influenced “Divine Rascal”. Joining in on percussion duties is the highly in demand Swiss rhythm master Andi Pupato, who adds layers of meticulous yet unforced depth to several cuts. Far more than just a “guest soloist” is Estonian trumpet phenom Aleksei Saks, whose lucid tone and expressive phrasing perfectly fit the album’s overall widescreen cinematic canvas.
“Mutual Isolation” is arguably the most “live” sounding and spontaneous of Burnt Belief albums. Despite being recorded in total isolation, with minimal discussion, it also manifests clear evidence of the strong musical instincts and sensibilities of all the musicians involved.