Shapes And Patterns (1997)

Fontana Records
CD - 314 534 741-2
CD - PHCR-1495 (JPN)
Released on March 7

Tim Cansfield - Guitars; Louis Jardim - Percussion, Bass Guitar; Derick Johnson - Bass Guitar on 1; Andrew Small - Drums on 1,2 & 5; Gota Yashiki - Drums, rhythm programming on 3, 8 & 9; Steve Sydelnick - Rhythm programming on 4, 6, 9 & 13; Masayoshi Furukawa - Guitar on 11; Background vocals - Berverly Skeete, Derek Green, Sylvia Manson James, Stevie Lange, George Chandler, Melody Sexton, Leon Daniels; On 1, 4, 9 & 13: Jerry Hey - Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Larry Williams - Saxophone; Bill Reichenbach - Trombone; On 3 & 6: Snake Davis - Saxophone, Flute; Steve Sidwell - Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Fayaz Virji - Trombone; On 11: Yoichi Murata - Trombone, Bass Trombone; Toshio Araki - Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Masahiro Sugaska - Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Takuo Yamamoto - Saxophone; Osamu Koike - Saxophone; Hideya Takakuwa - Flute; Vocal arrangement on 10 by Frank Campbell; Performed by Miriam Stockley, Berverly Skete & Lance Ellington; Horns arranged by Jerry Hey on 1, 4, 9, & 13; Snake Davis on 3 & 6; Yoichi Murata on 11; Strings on 2 arranged and conducted by Robyn Smith; Andy's string arrangements on 1 & 8 transcribed by Robyn Smith; Performed by the London Session

Orchestra led by Gavyn Wright
Produced and mixed by Paul Staveley O'Duffy; Engineered by Ben Darlow
Assistant Engineers: Ben Georgiades, Jon Bailey at AIR Studios; Valarie Jaquot, Ibi Tijani at Swanyard, Steve Cook at Sludderidge Studios; Scott Howland at Milo Music; Yutaka Uematsu at Burnish Stone; Tatsuya Shimokawa at Digital Solutions; Yulaka Shimoyama at JVC Victor Studios

Making it happen in the USA:
Bas Hartong - A&R; Danny Goldberg, David Leach, Dana Millman, Keri Woods, Bill Casson, Donna Fetchko, Eileen Cleary, Dawn Bridges, Jeff Brody, Lauren Murphy, Marty Maidenburg, Annette Michell, Meg Ritschel, Howard Paar, Jana Fleishman, Sage Robinson, Jay Durgan, Margery Greenspan, Kris Yiengst & all at Mercury Records
Ed Eckstine, John Marx, Joel Roman, Jackie Perriman, Leslie Lewis, Bill Coleman, Pat Lucas
Thank you for your time, wine and golden dust...
Alex Abramoff, Kazu Yanagida, Vanessa De Fabrega and all of our Mercury Music Family
Sally Perriman, Peter Reichart, Aki Page, Nao & All at E.M.I. Publishing
Keep On Keeping The Faith!
Massy Hayashi & All At H.I.P.

Home Boys and Girls:
Polly, Annie Holloway, Brian Carr, Sarah Vaughn, Alma Caesari, Steve Chapman, Stuart James, Favin Gladsmuir, John Lapwig, Uhity Winston, Andrew Brodesbury, John Vineyard, Marcus Avebury; Chris & Guy at Promus
Management: Bennett Freed at One Love
Design & Digital Illustration: P.R. Brown @ Bau-Da Design Lab NYC; Photography: Dah-Len; Additional Coney Island Photography: Paul E. Swanson @ Bau-Da Design Lab; Hair and Make-up l Jimmy Paul for Garren at Henri Bendel; Styling: Danny Santiago

S.O.S. - P.O. Box
London 3698 N16 9NE

Somewhere in the World
Someone's thinking of You...

Swing Out Sister's world is one of harmonic sophistication--where whimsy and sensuality join together in an aural playground.
It's her effortless scatting of hot, poetic phrases without breaking a sweat, teasingly changing key against her counterparts' reticular vocalese. It's his feverishly funky climb up the scales.

For their brilliant filth release, Shapes And Patterns, singer-songwriter Corinne Drewery and keyboardist-arranger Andy Connell are shimmying, clapping and grooving their way up the musical timeline, turning on a moment to retrace the essential nuances that lay between chapters of social change and upheaval.

They are children of the sixties, balancing the youthful enthusiasm of Sesame Street with the maturity of a revolutionary movement, channeling through the multicultural conduits of that era: Listen closely to influences such as The Fifth Dimension, Minnie Ripperton & Rotary Connection and The Jackson Five. They blend soulful, joyous sounds with unwitting personal politics, promoting consonant liberation through their music. They even plucked the stream-of-consciousness consortium, "Stone Soul Picnic" from the urban-pop songbook of wonderkind Laura Nyro as a tribute. Having as much social relevance today as it did then, "Picnic" is a reminder that despite our differences, we often share a common goal towards love and understanding. There's no doubt their single "We Can Make It Happen" will have the same in twenty years from now.

The dreamlike theme which flourishes through the album like a cinematic interlude -- a romantic intermission of sorts -- is ear candy. This lyrical and melodic departure from their previous catalogue of emotionally complex material deftly explores the essence of day-to-day living to provide the soundtrack of our lives.

With arrangements ranging from lucid to bouncy, Shapes And Patterns is a profoundly evocative mix of sharp, orbitally orchestral sequences, rhythmically sensual ballads, and heavens-parting contrapuntal voicing as demonstrated on such tracks as "Somewhere In the World," "Now You're Not Here," "Something Out Of This World," and "Always," a gloriously buoyant tune.

Revisiting the lush string arrangements and Latin rhythms married by striking time signature changes--made familiar by such greats by Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb and John Barry--the duo integrate the sound of yesterday with the technology of today on the aptly titled "Here and Now."

Rounded off by an equivocally passionate band--Cansfield on guitar, Louis Jardim on percussion, Derick Johnson on Bass, Andrew Small and Gota Yashiki on drums -- Swing Out Sister created a spontaneous party-like atmosphere and a feeling of togetherness. The redux of their funk hit, "Better Make It Better" has an earthiness about it. Everyone in the studio -- from the indelibly holy Frank Campbell right down to the engineer -- participated in a session. Above the handclaps, the laughter, and the ad libs, you can hear the rich backing vocals of Beverly Skeete, Derek Green, Sylvia Mason James, Stevie Lange, George Chandler, Melody Sexton, Lance Ellington, Mirlam Stockley and Leon Daniels warmly nestle into the rhythm and brass sections. Akin to the multicultural concept, there are may textures and colors on this album that make up the fabric which comprise their signature sound.

If you were once unfamiliar with Swing Out Sister, let Shapes and Patterns be your introduction to the force responsible for sending chills up your spine, a longing in your heart, and the determined bellow you shout from the deepest echelons of your soul. And now for your listening pleasure...

Mary Edwards April 1997