Dinosaur – Together, As One
With one hand on her trumpet and the other on her synth, BBC New Generation Artist Laura Jurd grabs some friends and goes on a jazz journey…
It is September 2016. We still don’t know what happened to Audrey Horne at the end of Twin Peaks. After listening to Dinosaur’s album Together, As One, I think she must be out there somewhere in a parallel Lynchian universe, dancing in the Double R Diner to opening track Awakening because trust me – Audrey would dig this.
Trumpet player Laura Jurd has been impressing audiences and critics since she emerged in 2010. She already has two albums to her name: 2012’s Landing Ground and 2015’s Human Spirit, and last year she was selected as one of the BBC New Generation Artists. This time, for Together, As One, she’s brought some friends along for the ride to form Dinosaur: Elliot Galvin on keys, Conor Chaplin on bass and Corrie Dick on drums.
Back to the music. Second track Robin is an enigma. Take a moment to imagine if Bellowhead had picked up synths instead of traditional folk instruments and you’d only be halfway there. At some points, the melody reminds me of the Mii Plaza music (and I mean that in the best possible way), and at other times, a Christmas carol that I can only half recall. The result is an instrumental that alternates seamlessly between joy and melancholia; music that grabs the listener by the hand and leads them down a path of both nostalgia and surprise.
The next few tracks explore some new sounds. In Living, Breathing, we hear Dinosaur playing with distortion to great effect and later, on Steadily Sinking, they whack an organ out for an atmospheric number that is all too brief.
The organ makes a triumphant return in the epic Extinct, a track just short of ten minutes long. The main section of this piece borders on the theatrical as the organ goes head to head with the trumpet, each trying to out-do the other in terms of melody, emotion and sheer volume. The drums are chaotic yet in perfect control, like lightning in a jar.
All eight tracks were written by Jurd, demonstrating her exceptional talent of combining technical skill with emotional warmth. These arrangements would feel at home alongside David Bowie’s Blackstar, or Guillemots at their most avant-garde. Dinosaur are a tight band. Each instrument supports all the others, holding the music in place just when you think it might run off the stave altogether. Together, As One, indeed.
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