Fringe Magnetic is a 12 strong ensemble led by trumpet player and composer Rory Simmons, a musician who has worked with Jamie Cullum and Bat for Lashes among others. Yet neither of those names are associated with the sort of material on Fringe Magnetic’s third and apparently final album, Clocca. The majority of instruments employed here are acoustic and include wind and string sections as well as singers of both sexes, so there is a wide diversity of tone even before electronica is introduced into the mix. The music they play sits at the unusual axis of jazz and chamber and thus falls into neither camp but works on a number of levels, sometimes it’s dark, at others it’s angular but for the most part it shimmers with an iridescent beauty.
The notes mention Bartók and Scott Walker and one can hear echoes of the latter in Andrew Plummer’s voice, but the overall vibe is not as heavy Walker’s later works nor as challenging as Bartók’s heavier moments. The themes were influenced by contemporary fiction with names such as Don DeLillo, David Mitchell and TS Eliot being quoted, but as you might imagine, this gives little intimation of the soundscapes on offer which are often more cinematic than literary. Not obvious but quite stimulating for it.