A new album from contemporary jazz quartet Babelfish that breathes musical life into literature, celebrating the powerful relationship between words and sound in inimitable style
“Amazing music” John Surman
“[Brigitte] (…) can stop you in your tracks with her quiet but devastating intent in the most unexpected places.” Marlbank ****
"Once Upon a Tide is a beautiful and intriguing album, full of superb musicianship and thrilling improvisation." LondonJazzNews
"This album is a joy from beginning to end" BebopSpokenHere
Embracing a wide range of influences and genres, Babelfish’s sound can only be defined by its diversity. Playing together since 2010, the quartet has a natural ease and rapport that is evident in the playful, spontaneous qualities that imbue their music. In Once Upon a Tide, their third album, there is an emphasis on the group’s original material. Green and Beraha have taken inspiration from some of their favourite books to explore ideas of life and death, the beauty of impermanence and the cyclical nature of existence.
In The Sea, the Sea, inspired by the Iris Murdoch novel of the same name, Beraha sings: “Nature is death / Nature is life / A glimpse of permanence / Quickly overshadowed by impermanence / The beauty of the sea.” These ideas are reflected throughout the album in the intricate ebb and flow of the music, weaving words and sound to create recurrent motifs that echo like the breaking of waves on the shore.
Although this album naturally sees a new level of importance placed on lyrics, the group’s ‘wordless language’ is still omnipresent, creating the unique sensorial and immersive sonic experience for which they are known. In tracks such as The Inspector and the Collector and the evocative Vie et Marée, the bounds of speech are broken as Beraha masterfully commands wordless improvisation and vocal sound effects, entering an instrumental dialogue with the other musicians to reach new levels of expression.
“This album is reflective of both the surprising nature of life and our playing style. We all like to take risks and have fun, knowing that no matter where we start the end result is never set,” says Beraha. “It isn’t about striving for perfection but instead pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, following the music where it takes us and expressing something true in the moment.”
In the two non-original tracks on the album, this distinctive approach is still evident. From the classical Dido’s Lament by Henry Purcell to the Shakespeare-themed Ellington standard Pretty Girl (otherwise known as The Star-Crossed Lovers), there is a fluidity and freedom that transforms these well-known tracks into something enticingly new.
“From classical to jazz and everything in between, our love of music knows few limitations,” says Green. “This, combined with the four unique musical perspectives we have in the band, has allowed us to create something really fresh and original we’re excited to share.”
Brigitte Beraha - Voice
Barry Green - Piano
Chris Laurence -Double Bass
Paul Clarvis - Drums / Percussion
Recorded 1st December 2018 at Livingston Studios, London
Mixed by Andrew Tulloch
Mastered by Sean Magie at Abbey Road Studios.
Released 29th June 2019
released June 29, 2019
[ 1 ] The Book of Joy (Beraha)
[ 2 ] Dido's Lament (Purcell)
[ 3 ] The Inspector and the Collector (Green)
[ 4 ] Hobie (Beraha)
[ 5 ] Haven't Met You Yet (Beraha)
[ 6 ] City of Glass (Green)
[ 7 ] The Sea, the Sea (Beraha)
[ 8 ] Casual Incompetence (Green)
[ 9 ] Pretty Girl (The Star-crossed Lovers) (Ellington/Strayhorn)
 Vie et Marée (Beraha/text by Max Jacob)
 Bonus track (digital only): Offrande à la Nature (Beraha/De Noailles)
The touch of two different materials
Here soft, there hard
Two worlds apart
Finally colliding to unravel the Universe
Track Name: Haven't Met You Yet
Wondering how often I've been standing facing the Sun
Set on this shore
With you beside me
Not knowing you were there
How many times has the moon shone upon your face
Right next to my gaze
My life has no regret
Though I haven't met you yet..