Graham Costello’s Strata

Head and Cloud Strata, Geoffrey Key

Here we are at the start of another year. What, I wonder, will it bring?

It’s dangerous, of course, to make predictions, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that Graham Costello’s Strata will turn out to stand head and shoulders above all the other bands I will blog about in 2023. Why do I say this? Because they are genuinely groundbreaking. Their compositions are sandwiched between a minimalism base and a jazz topping. As far as I know, that’s never been done before. And they do it superbly well.

The video below is a live performance recorded at The Tollbooth, Stirling in 2018 and lasting just over an hour. If you like the Hubzilla recommendations and my jazz-tagged posts, try to find the time to watch it all. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Graham Costello is a Scottish drummer and composer. Originally steeped in the noise-rock/indie/DIY scene, he went on to study jazz, forming Strata in 2016 to bring the two apparently disparate ingredients together.

The band features the following musicians:

  • Harry Weir tenor saxophone
  • Liam Shortall trombone
  • Fergus McCreadie piano
  • Joe Williamson guitar
  • Mark Hendry electric bass
  • Graham Costello drums + composition

They have released one 50-minute EP (Strata, 2016) and two albums (Obelisk, 2019 and Second Lives, 2021). All are worthy of your attention. Obelisk is especially good value; 1 hour 17 minutes of music for £10 (CD) or £8 (digital download) from bandcamp. If you insist on vinyl, Second Lives will cost you £25 (also available on CD for £14 or digital download, £8). And, if you are watching the pennies in these straitened times, a digital download of the Strata EP can be purchased for just £5.

Where these guys go, I’m sure I shall be following. This year, next year and for geological time. For as long as they are depositing more layers of sound and I am around to dig it.

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