Reactor One is the debut album from MultiTraction Orchestra, a networked ensemble with a fluid line-up of experimental musicians brought together by composer/guitarist/producer Alex Roth and including members of GoGo Penguin, Supersilent, Melt Yourself Down, Crash Ensemble, Sly & The Family Drone, and Hen Ogledd.
The Orchestra was formed as a creative response to the first coronavirus lockdown, and debut single "emerge entangled" was constructed from improvisations recorded remotely by 27 musicians from 15 cities in 8 different countries. The 10-minute track was released to widespread critical acclaim in May 2020, hailed by Jazzwise as "powerful, immersive and intense" and featuring on radio stations around the world.
Now, two years in the making, Reactor One brings together a dream team of internationally renowned improvisers, each of whom created their own parts in response to atmospheric guitar pieces Roth shared as musical prompts. From hours of material, the Orchestra's founder produced six tracks that span a range of soundworlds, from plangent trumpet melodies and ambient string textures to heavy synth drones and saturated beats.
As with "emerge entangled", the album title borrows from particle physics. Where the earlier single nodded to what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance", Reactor One suggests an imaginary site where energy is produced through a process of experimentation and fusion under extreme conditions. What better metaphor for an album forged during a global pandemic, with an energy crisis unfolding and intensifying climate change underpinning it all?
"Alex Roth’s superb band push the limitations of their instruments... these sounds don’t seem of this world." — John Lewis's Contemporary Album of the Month in The Guardian (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
"Startlingly good. Roth cleverly integrates each performance into the coherent whole, using restraint in his processes as he transports us through cloudy drones, fourth world neo-classical prettiness and wonked electronic experimentation." — Boomkat
"A remarkable sonic collage by an A list of international improvisers assembled by producer Alex Roth. The sometimes heartbreaking poetry of Arve Henriksen's ever-astonishing trumpet sound is an indispensable feature." — John Fordham, The Guardian
"Reactor One is both engaging and sonically adventurous, and reveals more fascinating details on each listen."
— Exposé Music Newsletter
"Incredible. Spectacular. It almost explodes in colour at times and adheres only to the boundless limits of the combo's sonic canvas. Resonates with beauty, clarity, emotion. Simply breath-taking. A whole other universe of entrancing music. A revelation." — Bernard Clarke, RTÉ lyric fm
"An immersive sonic experience in which elements of different soundworlds converge, from jazz to electronic experimentation, from contemporary chamber music to post-rock." — jazz pt (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
"Taking you on a scenic route into a world where time behaves differently and space gets moulded to fit your own being." — Maarten Walraven, MUSIC x
"A moving, evocative odyssey [through] a myriad of imaginative, mysterious environments and landscapes." — Dominic Valvona, Monolith Cocktail
"An experimental post-jazz trove." — Andy Cowan, MOJO Magazine (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
released April 7, 2023
Arve Henriksen – trumpet, piccolo trumpet
James Allsopp – bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
Kate Ellis – cello
Rhodri Davies – electric harp
Ruth Goller – electric bass
Jon Scott – drums
Alex Roth – electric guitar, synths
(Click the individual tracks to view the specific line-up on each one.)
All tracks were composed collaboratively and recorded remotely between February and September 2021
James Allsopp was recorded by Alex Bonney
All tracks were produced, edited and mixed by Alex Roth, except Part II mixed by Dan Jeffries and Alex Roth
Mastered by Goetz-Michael Rieth at eastside mastering studios berlin
Cover design by Tony Lugo
(Downloads include the alternative cover artwork by ANiMAtttiC, which appears on DSPs.)