Quicksails is the main creative outlet for the prolific Chicago music-maker Ben Baker Billington. BBB* is a member of Moonrises, a tremendous psych band who released their sophomore record Frozen Altars with Captcha back in 2013. He is also the percussionist in the legendary jazz trio Tiger Hatchery. Tiger Hatchery just released their most recent album on ESP Disk, the same label that released Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and Pharoah Sanders back in the day.
While Quicksails can be considered BBB’s solo enterprise, he called in some friends to help with this record. Fellow TH members Andrew Scott Young and Mike Forbes are featured; Haley Fohr of Circuit Des Yeux (a band BBB has played in as well) also makes an appearance. Rounding out the cast of stars in this Chicago supergroup is Rob Frye, who plays with psych guru Cooper Crain’s Bitchin’ Bajas and CAVE. So basically what you have here is a meeting of minds featuring some of the finest experimental, jazz, psych, and avant-garde heads the Chicago music scene has to offer.
Fleurs de la Lune is a great album, I really like the way that ambient soundscapes are blended with more edgy, harsher sounds but still retain coherence and a musical quality meaning that it doesn’t sound overly experimental. Sounds are layered against each other really well, at times the album feels like a daydream, with lots of thoughts and sounds buzzing around your mind whilst you drift away with other sounds grabbing your attention from time to time.
Blocking the Signal
This song has a great edgy, slightly glitchy opening evolving a really nice ambience whilst retaining an edge of tension. There’s great use and processing of vocal snippets and sound layering with a really good release of tension at the end of the song.
In Wind or Flags
This song has a great drone and edgy feel to the opening, there is some great layering of natural and digitised sounds. The song has an overall edgy sound and feel.
This song has great layering to open, I really like the vocal processing again and the ‘bubbling’ sound is used really well too. It’s another great soundscape, building tension to a final release.
I really like the evolving opening to this song, there’s great use of vocals again which are layered really well against background sounds. The song evolves really well too with an edge of tension at times and a more ambient feel at others. Great use of percussive sounds too.
The video for this song is embedded above. I really like the opening, a kind of squelchy, splattery melody with natural percussion and emerging and fading pad sounds. The sax adds a great element.
Great use of delay on the opening, the bass provides a more solid contrasting sound. Great layering of sounds again with a good contrast between bell, strings and other background sounds. There’s also a great contrast with the more urgent percussive rhythm.
Washed Hands and Hearts
This song has a pensive or reflective feel to the opening melody with great layering of other sounds. The song has an edgy feel at times, the vocals are quite sparsely and subtly used which creates a great element to the song. The violin towards the end of the song is a nice touch too.
Great synth sounds and background sounds to open with which creates an intricate complex rhythm. A synth lead kind of interweaves and there’s great layering of other sounds through the song too.
A Field for Betty
This song has almost stab like chords which give a nice movement against a gnarly bass and a layered sampled sound in the background gives a great contrast. There’s really good layering again, the song kind of ebbs and flows against the bass drone.