"IF THE ultimate enemies of musical creativity are cliche and resorting to familiar templates, then Rick Robertson has forged a truly liberating context for the imaginations of the members of his band, Baecastuff."
"The players are among the finest improvisers alive yet the piece as a whole was the star.
Extremely ambitious in its scope, the piece could have proved a jarring and dissipated experience, yet it not only held together, it allowed for potent collective and individual statements."
John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald
Rick Robertson is a direct descendant of the Bounty mutineers. His family still reside on Norfolk Island where the mutineers families finally settled after nearly a century of isolation on Pitcairn Island. Mutiny Music is a show based around the period around 1830 when the Pitcainers wrote a number of Hymns that became the cultural identity of the community and is still performed at gatherings on Pitcairn and Norfolk Island today. Within 10 years of the famous Mutiny all but one of the mutineers had died in unusual circumstances leaving their wives and offspring to survive and develop their own culture based on Polynesian traditions and the teachings of the one remaining pious Englishman. A distinctive new culture and language was born. Baecastuff takes these melodies and builds a soundscape of rhythm, melody and spoken word depicting the tumultuous and occasionally peaceful times.
Review from our last basement show 11 Nov 2010.
Dec 3. Wonderful night last friday at the 505 Club in Surry Hills for all concerned. The club lived up to it's name of being the home of fresh and innovative improvised music in Sydney with a large and listening audience open to what Baecastuff was ready to dish up. Phil Slater was astounding with his ability to keep coming up with new ideas and use of reptition, tonal colours and dynamics all against a backdrop created by Matt McMahon on Fender Rhodes and Piano, Simon Barker, Drums and Alex Hewetson holding down the bottom end with his subtle harmonic deviations. I held on for dear life when it came for my turn to take the bull by the horns only to find that years of playing with this band let me find my thing all over again.
One Hand Clapping' RF044
'another top-line Rufus offering. This disc...exploits some of the territory opened by the electric Miles Davis, bringing some distinctive new touches to bear. It is certainly jazz in spirit, but open to developments in funk and techno...everything is done here to make the whole production sound interesting, inviting and urgently or dreamily funky. Exciting solos are the cream on top' John Clare SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
'Baecastuff integrate electric and acoustic jazz feels into a seamless whole...It is music that is both thoughtful and rhythmically dynamic. It is vastly original, yet also impressively easy to log into. A most remarkable effort and one bound to get international musical palates salivating' Craig Pearce DRUM MEDIA
'They typify the new wave of Sydney musos who are becoming more committed to the funkier kind of music played by jazz musicians, that is attracting much younger audiences. The numbers are tight and well-executed, their musical twists and turns take the listener on an interesting journey - a journey far removed from the mainstream' Jill Morris JAZZ ACTION
'It's a kind of DIG-meets-Bitches Brew, with a whole lot of other stuff in the mix too...Slater's work is especially worth your attention' Adrian Jackson RHYTHMS
Big Swell' RF033
'this Australian group get a lot more out of jazz, funk and rock and their various crossing points than many a more renowned band' PENGUIN JAZZ GUIDE
'this band of local groove merchants...When the grooves are supposed to cook they really do' Shand SMH
'The variety and quality of the tracks are superb...It's real jazz and at the same time a truly enjoyable album for a wide audience' TIME OFF
'one of Sydney's most energetic and imaginative jazz and fusion projects...You couldn't ask for a more satisfying mix of the poignant, the complex and the downright funky' Cal Clugston REVOLVER
Out of this World (2001)
Sydney Morning Herald
"A very interesting Australian disc and a significant leap beyond their first effort, which was good enough. This one finds a real identity in that area where jazz seeks to engage with other modern forms.
There was a time when popular music had to get with jazz because jazz was the energy of the times. All the great popular composers were influenced and they influenced jazz in turn. Jazz continues to develop, in a kind of underground where it cannot help but interact -not only with rock, but with other undergrounds.
The first track here is based on an Aboriginal melody and is voiced in long, unison harmony tones on trumpet and soprano saxophone. These sound almost electronic, and the bumping, dancing, popping and oddly detached rhythm accompaniment subtly suggests techno music.
In fact, nothing here is exactly like any other kind of music, but strong affinities are established. Unison trumpet and soprano carry most of the tunes -a wonderfully bright, polished sound which becomes haunting and plangent at times. Some of these melodies are like the kind of jazz the mutant band played in the original Star Wars movie.
Others are long-toned repeating shapes, rather like Miles Davis's version of Nefertiti. A piece by bassist Alex Hewetson sounds initially like courtly Renaissance music. It develops martial and pagan overtones and ends with one of the few points of hard, blasting, congested energy on the disc.
A11-out jazz solos are deployed sparingly, too, but when either trumpeter Phil Slater or saxophonist Rick Robertson lets rip the energy fairly blazes. Likewise, the rhythm team of drummer Simon Barker and percussionist Aykho Ahkrif are sparing with the full barrage, which, when it comes, is all the more effective. Matt McMahon is effectively minimal throughout on electric and grand piano.
Baecastuff is something else."