Shattered Circuits
5 stars
Reviewed by Keith Pettigrew

What did we all do during COVID lockdowns to maintain our sense of perspective? More walking! Ah, the outdoors. What did musicians do? Rehearse for hoped-for gigs, and compose. Tom Urquhart and his colleagues in Shattered Circuits combined these into hikes in the bushland around Sydney, and composing new music. Their third release, Hike, is inspired by those bush walks. Shattered Circuits is led by keyboardist and composer Tom Urquhart, with Amanda Jenkins on bass, Brendan Paul on drums, and now with saxophonist Tom Andrews joining the trio. Both Amanda and Brendan are recent graduates from Sydney’s jazz campuses. Their previous excellent release, Loading…, was artfully recorded in their home garage, aka Tambourine Studio! Hike was recorded in the Golden Retriever Studios in Marrickville. The names of the tracks tell of their inspiration: Undergrowth, Cascades, Stuck in the Mud, Should We Be Here, etc. Urquhart’s keyboard and synth set the feel, quickly diminishing into Jenkins’ driving bass with strong rhythm from Paul’s drumming. Andrews’ sax provides excellent punctuation. Stuck In The Mud has a soulful feel, while the last track, Solace has a distinct environmental feel, gentle watery sounds growing to the sense of awe and peace that one finds in the bush. Wow comes with musical unison, like turning around the corner of that bush track, and wow!

The beat is deliberate, sometimes strident, sometimes gentle. The music is tuneful and imaginative. This is foot-tapping, thinking, relaxing and engaging jazz. And definitely worth seeing live.