ROIL | Chris Abrahams | Mike Majkowski | James Waples | Raft of the Meadows | No Business Records

Chris Abrahams – ­ piano | Mike Majkowski ­ – bass | James Waples – ­ drums

All compositions by Chris Abrahams, Mike Majkowski and James Waples. Tracks 1 – 3 (Side A) & Track 3 (Side B) recorded in Sydney, 9th February 2013. Tracks 1 & 2 (Side B) recorded in Sydney, 6th February 2014. Recorded & mixed by Roil. Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov



Established in 2007

roil play their own original style of jazz-inspired improvised music, and have released 3 albums thus far: meaning (2009) on australian label, rufus, frost frost (2011) on uk label, bo’weavil recordings & raft of the meadows (2014) on lithuanian label no business records.

their music draws upon a varied pallet; at times it comes close to free jazz, at other times to experimental improvisation, while also referencing other styles such as minimalism, reductionism and ambient music. a Roil piece incorporates aspects of textural improvisation, bringing extended techniques to bear on a collective sound world; while also being melodic and conventionally rhythmic. bringing together the abstract and the figurative.

”a sonically fascinating, rhythmically propulsive journey in which you don’t always know where you’re going, but you know the destination will be worth it in the end.” – jacob adams, spectrum culture

”frost frost, their second album, forges an intriguing mix between traditional jazz structures, pulsing loops and a tendency for each of the seven tracks to build outwards from an opening piano figure towards either dense accumulations of unstructured abstraction, or sparse minimalistic stretches of not very much at all… while this album wears the traditions and idioms of jazz firmly on its sleeve, the scope of the music, and the uncertainty around how strong those bonds with convention hold from track to track, results in a more compelling outcome.” – richard pinnell, the wire

”a beautifully weighted trio, full of delicacy, mesmerizing accumulations of detail and engulfing power.” – john clare


Mike Majkowski

is a double bassist / composer born in Sydney, Australia, 1983,  active in the fields of improvised, composed and exploratory music since 2001. performs as a soloist + with a number of collaborative projects. Mike is currently exploring the spectral qualities of double bass resonance, examining deliberate frequencies and circumstantial resonance. his music also explores the relationship between physicality and sonority, with the aim of creating a sense of stillness. Mike has been based in Berlin, Germany, since 2011.


Photo by Laki Sideris

Chris Abrahams

born 9 April 1961 in New Zealand is a Sydney-based pianist, best known for his jazz work. Abrahams has been a member of the Benders, Laughing Clowns, The Sparklers and The Necks. He has recorded several solo albums, as well as collaborations with Melanie Oxley from the Sparklers. Abrahams has also been a session musician on albums for artists such as The Church, The Whitlams, Midnight Oil, Wendy Matthews, Skunkhour and Silverchair. Chris Abrahams produced and arranged the music for the Australian film “The Tender Hook” which was released in 2008. In 2008, Chris Abraham’s work on the film’s soundtrack was nominated for the “Best Original Music Score” AFI Award.

Some of Abrahams music is experimental in nature—The Necks are an improvisational trio, and Abraham’s performance at the Room40 Tenth Anniversary in London was labelled “ambient”, “free-jazz” and “industrial noise” by (UK) Financial Times reviewer, Mike Hobart. Chris Reid from RealTime Arts Magazine wrote of his Germ Studies collaboration with Clare Cooper, an organiser of the NOWnow Festival who played the Chinese zither on the album, “. . . it represents an extensive investigation into the endless range of sounds that can be created by combining the venerable DX7 synthesiser and the even more venerable Chinese zither, the guzheng. . . a deep exploration of musical language”.


James Waples

James was brought up in a family of musicians and from the age of six began studying classical piano and drums. He has recently completed the jazz course at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he studied with recognised Australian drummers such as Gordan Rhythmiester, David Goodman, Andrew Dickerson, and overseas with Clarence Penn (New York). He was also a finalist in the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz drum competition in 2005.

James has performed with many of Australia’s premier jazz musicians such as Mike Nock, Bernie McGann, Dale Barlow, Sean Wayland, James Muller and Vince Jones. He is currently involved with original projects with groups such as the Mike Nock Trio, Bernie Mcgann Quartet, Waples Bros Band, Jackson Harrison Quartet, Farfinkel Pugowski, The Three Omegas, Divine Dialects, Roil, and Simon Ferenci Quartet.

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One thought on “ROIL | Chris Abrahams | Mike Majkowski | James Waples | Raft of the Meadows | No Business Records

  1. Established in 2007, Roil comprises three Australians from the Sydney jazz scene, sharing pianist Chris Abrahams with that other better known Antipodean combo The Necks. Like that last outfit Roil manifests as an egalitarian concern, continuing in the lineage trailblazed by Bill Evans in the 1960s via Howard Riley’s trio with Barry Guy a decade later. But in contrast to this template, on their third release Raft of the Meadows (as was also the case with its predecessors) all the numbers are collectively credited and show no indication of compositional intent.

    The dominant characteristic of the group is a conversational interaction most obvious at the start of both sides of this limited edition LP. Each participant absorbs the statements by his colleagues and responds in kind. Unlike other practitioners of the art such as the Portuguese RED Trio or French pianist Eve Risser, pitch and tonality remain conventional and fully recognizable throughout. Instead the invention comes through inspired sound placement, and the tension which derives from contrasting approaches. In particular Abrahams and drummer James Waples pull in different directions to good effect, as on “Life Event Kit” where fast streaming piano tugs against a slow moving rhythmic carpet, woven from seemingly random bass and drum interjections.

    Waples’ assertive flurries and tumbling clatter often form the least fixed component in the animated discourse. Bassist Mike Majkowski acts as an understated fulcrum mediating the opposing forces, notably on “Bone Collar” where his pliant muscular pizzicato begins the piece, and then holds it together in the ensuing interplay. Although the pianist frequently crafts appealing melodic runs, he also sometimes undercuts them with preparations which distort the timbre of his instrument. However he often gravitates towards minimalism in his reiterated subtly evolving patterns. That’s apparent on the title cut, where Abrahams’ flowing lines transform into urgent Morse code signals once they encounter Waples’ disruptive percussion. With exposure such as this Roil will likely be a name to watch in Europe as much as Down Under.

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