World Service Project and Zodiak Trio go interstellar at Match&Fuse


In true experimental style, mixing two bands together to see what happens can lead to explosive results - none more so than when thrash/punk/noise-jazzers, World Service Project, collided with no-nonsense German power group, Zodiak Trio, at the Vortex as part of the Match&Fuse exchange programme.


World Service Project have earned a reputation for their disconcerting, quick-fire compositions and, as expected, dressed in their Droogish white shirts with braces and bowler hats, WSP’s occasional punky singing and the band’s incisive, stabbing dissonance rebelliously jangles the jazz nerve. This contrasts starkly with the composed stage presence of the brass and rhythm sections and it falls to lanky gang-leader and keyboard player, Dave Morecroft, to provide the breathless energy which mirrors the pacey music as he sweatily directs the band, shouting out the bar count before interjecting with screaming synth as the whole band changes direction like a flock of birds. It proves a whistle stop blast through songs from their aptly titled 2010 debut album, Relentless, and 2013 follow-up, Fire in a Pet Shop. The final song of their set, ‘Barmy Army’, chronicles Morecroft’s frustrated support of his local football club and starts with a jaunty rudimental march from drummer Liam Waugh which wafts of fat-bellied hooliganism with its rhythmic instrumental shout of “come and ‘ave a go if you fink you’re ’ard enough” - which sums up this fun-loving band’s incorrigible style.


Next on stage, Zodiak Trio also incorporate elements of sound design into their sets but sit on the jazz family tree closer to folk and fusion styles which allows the audience a chance to relax into their seats having sat on the edge during the previous act. Playing songs from their 2012 album, Acid, while still at the chaotic edge in places, the trio is less jabby punk more whammy-bar prog rock, dreamy electronica and aggressive-yet-intricate heavy metal – all emanating from guitarist Andreas Wahl’s tiny, futuristic headless guitar. Around this lush backdrop of sound, trumpeter John-Dennis Renken snakes a penetrating trumpet-line while drummer Bernd Oezsevim provides the cohesion, moving confidently between a range of dynamics and unusual time signatures into straightforward funk and rock. On the penultimate song, ‘Fotoalbum’, an ethereal number worthy of a Get The Blessing album, he is particularly impressive and displays creative mallet and brush-work to find unearthly metallic scrapings and flat thumps dampened by his elbow while still laying down a laid back but insistent groove.


In keeping with the philosophy of the event, for the night’s grand finale WSP rejoin to the stage for the collaborative piece - a fused rendition of Zodiak Trio’s ‘Nachteulen’ with bits of WSP spliced in. Although you can hear the joins there is a sense of fun on stage with both drummers sitting smiling behind the same kit and each band clearly enjoying the challenge of playing each other’s compositions. It’s obvious a real bond has been established between the bands who, despite the language barrier and fundamental differences in styles, have proved fluent in the jazz vernacular and make compelling Match&Fuse counterparts.

– Steve Owen


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