Russ Lossing - Motian Music

Label: Sunnyside, 2019

Personnel – Russ Lossing: piano; Masa Kamaguchi: bass; Billy Mintz: drums.

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Pianist Russ Lossing dabbles in the fascinating musical universe of Paul Motian, an artist he knew very well. For 12 years, they were friends and collaborators, and Lossing decided this was the time to honor the late genius whose tunes fall somewhere between the lyrical and the abstract. Paraphrasing the pianist: “this music plays itself.”

On Motian Music, his debut on Sunnyside, he teams up with longtime associates bassist Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Billy Mintz, a pair of creative minds with an elevated rhythmic sensibility.

The first couple of pieces, “Asia” and “Abacus”, date from the late ’70s, but their shapes are unlike. The former, carrying some folk connotations and emotional grandeur, mirrors the splendor of this piano trio; in turn, the latter comes enveloped by a magnetic abstraction and instigates free exploration. During the first minutes, Mintz offers us tonality, having the round, somewhat pinched bass notes from Kamaguchi dancing at his side as well as Lossing’s resolute, if perplexing, melodic lines.

Both drummer and bassist do a great job throughout, but they are particularly in evidence on pieces like “Dance”, a permanent push-pull activity with Lossing’s fluid ideas floating atop, and “Mumbo Jumbo”, a three-way conversation characterized by a strong rhythmic temperament and some motivic impetuosity that never reaches a factual state of anxiety.

Originally included on Motian's album It Should Have Happened a Long Time Ago (ECM, 1984), “Fiasco” and “Introduction” are tackled with tempo exemption, allowing lots of liberties in the harmonic and melodic demarcations. In the case of the first composition, things are stirred up with a swinging feel at once familiar and eccentric. Conversely, “Introduction” adopts a reserved posture and is extended to six minutes against the three of the original recording. Bright flashes of piano convey a weirdly dreamlike aura gently underpinned by airier inflections of bass and brushed drums.

The recording couldn’t have ended in a better way, with the seraphic “Psalm” expressing a levitating simplicity that touches the sublime. Without subverting the art of Motian, Lossing puts a personal touch in this startlingly intimate album. The results are more than satisfactory and fans of the drummer will instantly relate to the music.

Grade  A-

Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Asia ► 08 - Mumbo Jumbo ► 10 - Psalm


Anna Webber - Clockwise

Label: Pi Recordings, 2019

Personnel - Anna Webber: tenor saxophone, flutes; Jeremy Viner: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Jacob Garchik: trombone; Christopher Hoffman: cello; Matt Mitchell: piano; Chris Tordini: bass; Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone, timpani.

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Tenorist/flutist/composer Anna Webber is a compelling exponent of the avant-jazz panorama who has been leading interesting projects such as Percussive Mechanics and Simple Trio. Her most ambitious project to date, Clockwise, marks her debut on Pi Recordings and homages some of her favorite 20th century composers like Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and John Cage. Here, she spearheads a snappy working septet of gifted musicians, delivering nine stimulating tunes with progressive artistry.

Two pieces inspired by Xenakis’ percussive work Persephassa bookend the album: “Kore II” and “Kore I”, opening and closing tunes, respectively. The former is deliciously timbral and contrapuntal, racing with fragments of jagged angularity and pushed forward by an odd groove in seven; the latter is cooked with a slippery, steam-powered tempo and spotlights Jacob Garchik on trombone; it slightly rocks at some point before the culminating crescendo.

I felt a high-energy punch with the buzz-like drones and hypnotic pace of “Idiom II”, in which codified and notated elements were applied. It was like hearing a Scottish bagpipe intermittently discontinued by the injection of low-pitched rhythmic accents. A cello solo reaches far corners… sprawling horn-driven embroideries let the piano and the vibraphone stand out… rhythmic patterns are left to the final section. It sounds beautiful!

The three uncanny parts of “King of Denmark” are intensely percussive and the first of them presents kinetic manifestations from vibraphone, shrieky piano, continual flute chirping, terse cello traces, and indistinct horn sounds. This sets the tone for “Loper”, whose pondered kickoff never impeded the energy to flow. Afterwards, everything transforms with surprise, and a spectacular tenor solo arises, having lacerating cello incisions and bass kicks running in the back. The passage before the final is equally amazing, arranged with unisons and scattered horn wails uttered with a mix of authority and passion. Webber borrowed certain elements of Edgar Varèse’s Ionisation, a musical composition written for 13 percussionists, for this piece.

The title track starts by combining unhurried bass notes, glasslike vibrations, and keyed up bass flute. Our attention is deflected to Mitchell’s thought-provoking classical-influenced pianism before reaching a collective conclusion.

Array” combines upbeat funk attitude with pointillist fixation whilst the short-lived “Hologram Best” registers John Cage as the motivational source. It showcases outgoing sax lines flying over a danceable surface permeated by piano and horn lines in counterpoint.

Even though individual contributions take the form of strong improvisations, it’s the magnitude of the collective that makes this body of work so extraordinary. Everyone listens closely to one another, a fact that compels the interplay to feel so instinctual, whereas the written parts have no dull moments, demonstrating ingenious imagination.

Grade  A

Grade A

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Kore II ► 02 - Idiom II ► 03 - King of Denmark I/Loper


Nate Wooley - Columbia Icefield

Label: Northern Spy Records, 2019

Personnel – Nate Wooley: trumpet; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Susan Alcorn: pedal steel; Ryan Sawyer: drums.

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American trumpeter-improviser Nate Wooley writes cleverly configured music for a new experimental ensemble featuring guitarist Mary Halvorson, pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, and drummer Ryan Sawyer, who doubles on vocals. All three compositions on Columbia Icefield (the album was titled for the largest area of interconnected glaciers in the Rocky Mountains) run between 10 and 20 minutes. The quirky quartet builds structural blocks according to Wooley’s arrangements, in a demonstration of versatility and imagination. The bandleader pictures the inaccessible ice field as a metaphor of man’s relationship to nature, many times suggesting sonic mystery.

Lionel Trilling” starts off with concurrent guitar ostinatos filled with acerbic atonal intervals and subtle chromatic shifts, a relentless cadence sustained by a sort of obsessive thrust. As the tune progresses, surprising rhythms erupt, bringing Sawyer’s unpredictable drumming to the forefront. You must wait around for controlled moments of chaos as well as intervals of reflective stillness. Both invite us to picture vast hyperborean landscapes in our minds. Rasping, vibrating slides on the guitar and vocal effects help to magnify the milieu, which, near the final, shapes into a waltzing, electronic-like passage with rhythmic patterns atop.

Refraining the dynamics, the group embraces a certain languidness for most of the duration of “Seven in the Wood”. Alcorn and Halvorson combine their quirky sonorities, weaving a serene tapestry over which Wooley pronounces crisp lines with descriptive properties. Sawyer creates uncertainty in his interventions, and the reverent care for nature seems to emerge from a solemn folk source. This hushed instrumentation lingers until Halvorson turns on distortion and Sawyer takes his drums to thunderbolt heights for a torsional indie-rock flutter.

The title “With Condolences” doesn’t mislead, considering that the music resembles a requiem. However, on occasion, the dismalness is cut out by the tribulation that results from layered instrumental entanglements. Sawyer’s narration is done in conformity with the tenebrous understructure.

The music orchestrated by Wooley might not move a mountain, but has the power to shake it.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
02 - Seven in the Wood ► 03 - With Condolences


Brittany Anjou - Enamigo Reciprokataj

Label: Origin Records, 2019

Personnel - Brittany Anjou: piano; Greg Chudzik: bass; Nicholas Anderson: drums + guests: Ari Folman-Cohen: bass; Ben Perowsky: drums.

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The well-traveled American pianist/composer Brittany Anjou titled her debut album in Esperanto because that language mirrors jazz improvisation in the way that both promote intercultural dialogue, democracy, and self-expression.

Inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka ballet, Enamigo Reciprokataj means reciprocal love and its content is defined by original compositions, some of them honoring great pianists. Featuring Greg Chudzik on bass and Nicholas Anderson on drums, the album includes an additional team of foundation builders - bassist Ari Folman-Cohen and drummer Ben Perowsky - on the two last tracks.

Starlight” and the “Reciproka Elektra”, opening and closing tunes, respectively, are adorned with electronic manipulation and are strictly connected with each other. The former piece shows a strong grasp of melody and rich post-bop tradition, while the latter gets both trios together in an electronic composite that conjures up offbeat techno-like trances.

The five-part suite Reciprokataj, a shapeshifter, plays a central role in the journey, offering a variety of environments while bridging tradition and innovation with epiphanic manifestations. The classical influence on “Cyrene (Flight of the Butterfly)” is monumental, just as much as the rhythm is vertiginous; “Girls Who Play Violin” feels looser, exposing sweeping piano, plaintive pizzicato and arco bass, and rich cymbal work; the epic block chords that instate “Harfa” takes us to a cool, round 4/4 harmonic progression and relaxed brushed drumming that call for Anjou’s improvisation; and the lushly driven, 5/4-metered “Olive You” contains crescendos, sudden explosions, spiky accents, and melodic spirals, until the tempo is modified, firstly to accommodate the bassist’s solo and, secondly, drum stretches over a vamp; lastly, the compact pianism of “Flowery Distress” impelled me to imagine a musical crossing between Moby and Aaron Park’s Little Big, a sort of electronica-meets-indie-rock scenario.

Intercalated with parts of the suite, there are tributes to influential jazz pianists: the waltzing, brush-driven “Snuffaluffagas” homages Ahmad Jamal, while “Hard Boiled Soup” honors McCoy Tyner, throwing fractions of Kenny Barron into the mix. In turn, “Balliou for Bartok” heads into the bolero mode as it celebrates the classical virtues of Hungarian Béla Bartók.

Anjou is a virtuosa with a determined touch and nimble liveliness. This accomplished body of work, which took 13 years to be completed, is sufficiently gratifying to make us wonder what her next plans are.

Grade  A-

Grade A-

Favorite Tunes:
01 - Starlight ► 02 - Reciprokataj II: Cyrene ► 08 - Reciprokataj IV: Olive You


Matthew Shipp Trio - Signature

Label: ESP Disk, 2019

Personnel - Matthew Shipp: piano; Michael Bisio: bass; Newman Taylor Baker: drums.

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Pianist Matthew Shipp reunites with trio mates, bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker, to bring his bewitching signature into a new album, the follow-up to the magnificent Piano Song (Thirsty Ear, 2017). This collection of inventive tunes, precisely called Signature, exhibits the title song as the opening sentence. It's a peaceful exploration of melodic lines crafted with intervallic curiosity in the middle register and liberally anchored by left-hand conductions. Bass and drums sneak in nicely and softly, tinging the scenario with an opalescent luster without ever overriding the pianist’s moves.

Flying Saucer” starts off with some agitation in the lower register of the keyboard. As Shipp moves up to adjacent octaves, Bisio percolates a compulsive, entangling, rapid-fire sequence of notes that augments the song's textural density. Simultaneously, Baker varies the rhythm, opting for what better suits the moment. The zealous interplay perseveres with verbal fluidity until reaching a playful, hypnotically paced finale.

Ruminative classical cadences, harmonic ambiguity, and rhythmic tension distinguish “The Way”. Here, you can trace Shipp's deep notes systematically articulated with percussive spirit, and then enjoy a portion of playfulness in the course of a few sequences that push you into some runaway train heading to some darker place. This dazzling activity within indistinct structures is an archetype of the trio.

Revolving around an eloquent riff whose source could be the classical genre or a Broadway show, “Zo #2” distributes puzzling note choices over the warp and woof created by a sturdy bass-drums coalition. Playing with similar elements, “Speech of Form” is considerably more enigmatic, fenced in its own dreamy, modern classical universe. Different yet still fitting, “Stage Ten” adopts a conventional swinging drive in the foundation, supporting concentric explorations with prepared piano.

Alluding to Chick Corea, “This Matrix” runs over 16 minutes, spinning with rhythmic fulgor and glistening with creative patterns and boppish lines soaked in extravagance and chromaticism. It comes with a bass monologue and turns out charmingly lyrical in its last section.

Shipp remains faithful to freer forms of expression and Signature gives you another chance to dive into the magical complexity of his resourceful music.

Grade  A-

Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
05 - The Way ► 08 - Zo #2 ► 10 - The Matrix


Stephan Crump's Rosetta Trio - Outliers

Label: Papillon Sounds, 2019

Personnel - Stephan Crump: acoustic bass; Liberty Ellman: acoustic guitar; Jamie Fox: electric guitar.

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Stephan Crump plays the bass with a sturdy hand and disciplined passion. His auspicious note displacements and impeccable notions of tempo made him not only a first choice sideman (Vijay Iyer, Rez Abbasi, Liberty Ellman) but also a highly respected bandleader, responsible for exciting projects such as Borderlands Trio, Rhombal, and Rosetta Trio.

It is precisely the latter group that has a new album, the fourth, on the way. Outliers offers glittery collective lyricism, prismatic improvisations, and a courageous unconventionality through complex yet deeply engaging structures. Crump has put this trio together in 2004, picking guitarists Liberty Ellman and Jamie Fox as associates.

The opening tune, “In Waves”, turns loose pleasurable electro-acoustic sounds, displaying a certain type of guitar strumming and strokes that made Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “From The Beginning” popping up in my head. This worked as an unexpected and quite nostalgic art-rock moment for me.

Also on the fringe of a refined rock but additionally bringing something more in its guiding staccatos, the title track complies with ravishing shifting practices. Rhythmically puzzling, it passes the sensation of an African dance fused with rock erudition.

Performed with impassioned abandon, “Synapse” is pure, bright fusion. It exposes funk-rock caught in intricate unisons and smooth flamenco-like passages in 5/4 with alternate solos by Ellman and Fox on the acoustic and electric guitar, respectively. And because it’s impossible to guess where the band is going to take us next, “Cryoseism”, the first compositional contribution by Ellman to the group, is another fusion tale, only this time blending fizzy funk with the type of classical wonder often suggested by Yes’ guitarist Steve Howe. On “Eskima Dream”, a tune retrieved from the Rhombal album, there is more scintillating funk, and the tenacious bass bounce joins the chordal guitar flourishes in a danceable ritual in seven.

The group impresses in a similar manner when tackling slower tunes like “Re Eyes” and “Middle March”. The former carries an eminent folkish lyricism, advancing consistently at an unhurried 9/4 tempo until superseded by a middle passage that appears affiliated with world-music; the latter, one of the two compositions on the album written for Crump’s brother Patrick, is initially swamped in the lugubrious introspection created by arco bass and fingerpicking guitar, later opening up new horizons through the beautiful melody.

With a sensational facility to make odd tempos sound natural, Rosetta Trio operates with a true, collaborative spirit, exploring all-string sonic possibilities with imagination. Outliers is not to be missed.

Grade  A

Grade A

Favorite Tracks:
01 - In Waves ► 02 - Re Eyes ► 05 - Synapse


Wadada Leo Smith - Rosa Parks: Pure Love

Label: TUM Records, 2019

Personnel – Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet; Min Xiao-fen: voice, pipa; Karen Parks: voice; Carmina Escobar: voice; Shalini Vijayan: violin; Mona Tian: violin; Andrew McIntosh: viola; Ashley Walters: cello; Ted Daniel: trumpet; Hugh Ragin: trumpet; Graham Haynes: cornet; Pheeroan akLaff: drum set; Hardedge: electronics.

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The creativity of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, a dominant figure of the avant-jazz scene, boasts unlimited musical boundaries, crispness of sound, and resolute leadership. Besides mirroring these capabilities in his attractive way of playing, Smith is a conscious man and activist.

His new outing, Rosa Parks: Pure Love - an oratorio of seven songs - consists in a set of triumphal hymns presented like an extended suite and arranged according to his unique style and vision. Paying tribute to the iconic civil rights activist mentioned in the title, the album features a double quartet, three female vocalists, a drummer and an electronics wizard, as well as samplings of recordings by Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Steve McCall, and Smith. It’s a philosophical type of narrative where the bandleader experiments his own musical language, Ankhrasmation, on top of the traditional oratorio form.

Segments and tunes are grouped conveniently, and “Prelude” opens the recording like a reveille, calling the attention for the civil rights through elongated trumpet notes in unison that soon take us to “Vision Dance 1: Resistance and Unity”. The latter’s tonal magnitude bursts in a magisterial chamber phenomenon. I appoint these dances as the most absorbing parts on the album, the ones with more focus on improvisation.

Vision Dance 2”, for instance, flexes and contorts, pulled by poised rhythmic undercurrents and electronic noises. Fragmented in the beat and slightly disjointed in the articulation, the tune aggregates excerpts from Braxton’s “Composition 8D” and McCall’s rousing drum work on Air’s “No. 2”. While “Vision Dance 3” is a chamber feast sketched with pre-recorded percussion, multiple muted trumpets, and flickering violin waves, “Vision Dance 4” is bookended by trumpet duets that show the bandleader playing alongside Graham Haynes.

The importance of the stringed instruments in shaping the momentum of the tunes can be observed throughout. Other highlights are “Song 3: Change It!”, which features an excerpt of Jenkins’ violin (“Keep On Trucking, Brother”), Karen Parks’ potent voice, and the inspired percussive jolts of Pheeroan akLaff; “Song 5: No Fear”, the only one featuring lyrics by Rosa Parks; and “The Known World: Apartheid”, where Smith is featured as a soloist.

Mounted as an Oriental folk song, “Song 1: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, 381 Days: Fire” has Min Xiao-fen singing with operatic enunciation while playing the pipa with earnestness. The melodic sound of the violin confers it a yearning sweetness.

With quizzical parts and curious editing, this is a record with both polished and rugged chamber surfaces, feeling more earthly rooted when compared with the stunning America’s National Parks (TUM, 2016). Even less impactful than the latter, Rosa Parks: Pure Love breathes confidence and deserves attention for its musical and political statements.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
02 - Vision Dance 1 ► 06 - Vision Dance 2 ► 07 - Song 3: Change It!


Santiago Leibson Trio - Episodes

Label: Fresh Sound New Talent, 2018

Personnel - Santiago Leibson: piano; Matt Pavolka: bass; Mark Ferber: drums.

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Santiago Leibson, an Argentine pianist based in New York, leads a new trio with bassist Matt Pavolka and drummer Mark Ferber on his new outing, Episodes. The follow up of Out of Order, an album recorded last year, along with bassist Drew Dress and drummer Devin Gray, features eight originals treated with tight interplay and shaped with a peculiar sonority that illustrates their musical qualities.

Advocating tranquility, Leibson opens the album with “Go”, where he carves an angular melodic riff in the style of Misha Mengelberg onto the nonchalant swinging surface created by his trio mates. Fragmented piano phrases, relaxed and filled with rhythmic intention, draw back and let the bass talk before the restitution of the theme. Other swinging incursions were detected on “Basement Complaints”, whose elegant nature reveals some connections to Herbie Nichols, and “Salida”, an uptempo jaunt to the realms of Herbie Hancock, where we find Leibson inventing rhythmic figures during the bar trades with Ferber.

Despite the inaugural collective thump and piano trills, “Gentle Push” promotes stagnation and discretion and never really looms into motion. In a similar fashion, “Vagon” feels docile in its presentation, slowly promenading with bass-piano unisons and suggesting a vague, spacious atmosphere reminiscent of Paul Motian. Contradicting the premise, the tune drops its vaporous state in favor of a more solid swinging form.

Second Movement” hints at classical music in its early dreamy phase, but then spirals into intransigent interval risings à-la Chick Corea. This mutation happens right after Pavolka’s improvisation, genially patterned with underlying chromaticism.

Mechanically agitated by an odd-metered Brubeckian groove, “U#5” advances with melodic stumbles until disrupted by a calm rubato passage. The pure acoustics heard here continues with some mystery on “Weird Doors”, which closes out the album with piano legato in a poised 3/4 context.

Although it might not be noticed straight away, Episodes is a swinging album with abundant evocations of past grandeur. Thence, the trio of performers lay bare their solid command of time and space to create new narratives.

Grade  B+

Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Go ► 03 - Basement Complaints ► 04 - Second Movement


Miho Hazama - Dancer in Nowhere

Label: Sunnyside, 2019

Personnel includes: Miho Hazama: composition, conduction; Steve Wilson: alto saxophone; Jason Rigby: tenor saxophone; Andrew Gutauskas: baritone saxophone; Atsuki Yoshida: viola; Ryoji Ihara: saxophone; Jonathan Powell: trumpet; Lionel Loueke: guitar; James Shipp: vibraphone; Billy Test: piano; Kavita Shah: vocals; Sam Anning: bass; Jake Goldbas: drums; Nate Wood: drums; and more.

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Despite her young age, the classically trained, Tokyo-born Miho Hazama is an accomplished conductor/composer who has so much to give to the contemporary jazz universe. Dancer in Nowhere is her third release with the m_unit, her highly qualified 13-piece signature ensemble.

The comprehensive music includes several stylistic influences combined within lush arrangements, with the eight tracks unveiling intricacy in the composition and sagacity in the form. The collective navigates odd meters and lays down churning rhythms with ardent dedication, starting with the graceful "Today, Not Today", whose syncopated and asymmetric course whisks us away to uplifting orchestrated sections. The muted trumpet of Jonathan Powell, who begins slowly and ends feverishly, and the vibraphone of James Shipp, backed by stringed ostinatos and woodwind melodies, are the free voices here.

Bassist Sam Anning starts “The Cyclic Number” with a solitary act, plucking vigorously and adding stylish slides before putting up a shimmering groove in four, ofttimes interrupted by passages of a different order. Sometimes, those passages allude to a slippery crossover jazz like happened during the statements of Atsuki Yoshida and Ryoji Ihara on viola and saxophone, respectively. The closing vamp brings drummer Jake Goldbas to the forefront.

Vocalist Kavita Shah gives meaning to the celestial chamber texture of “Somnambulant”, a piece that sparkles with improvisations by tenor saxist Jason Rigby and guest guitarist Lionel Loueke, who adjust to distinct contexts. The latter, in possession of a delay-drenched sound, concentrates his efforts in the blues-rock idiom.

Capable of waking us up from any sleepwalking trance, “Il Paradiso Del Blues” leans heavily on the off-the-cuff roller-coaster rides of altoist Steve Wilson, who is given more than one opportunity to shine. If he blows the saxophone with fiery energy over a hard-swinging motion, then baritonist Andrew Gutauskas unleashes sultry lines as the Latin rhythms invade the scenario.

Whereas the brashly charming “Magyar Dance” manifests dynamic shifts in tempo, there’s contrapuntal clapping on “Olympic Fanfare and Theme”, penned by John Williams for the 1984 Olympic Games. Some of his motives can be heard on the tune, which, being the shortest in time, features seven soloists.

The session terminates with the title track, where a breezy post-bop in seven bumps into contemporary classical elements and serpentine melodies reminiscent of the Middle East. It is supplemented with solos full of flavor by Rigby on tenor and the illustrious guest Nate Wood on drums.

Motivated by a globalist outlook in music, Ms. Hazama has crafted a collection of tunes whose mature frameworks secure layers of dynamism, all splashed with strong-hued solid colors.

Grade  A-

Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Today, Not Today ► 05 - Il Paradiso Del Blues ► 08 - Dancer in Nowhere


Billy Pod - Drums To Heal Society

Label: Puzzlemusik, 2019

Personnel - Billy Pod: drums, composition; Michalis Tsiftsis: guitar; Kimon Karoutzos: bass; Yiannis Papadopoulos: Rhodes; Jannis Anastasakis: electronics; Katerine Duska: vocals; George Kontrafouris: piano; Stephanos Chytiris: drums.

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Athens-born drummer Vassilis Podaras, known in the artistic world as Billy Pod, envisions music as a miraculous influence with the capacity of touching, affecting, and healing listeners. According to that idea, and based on his compositional efforts, the title given to his debut album was Drums to Heal Society.

The essence of “Void” is purely percussive, inviting us to the album with an exploration of darkened drum timbres gorgeously synced with cymbal splashes and adorned by speculative electronic noises. It precedes the harmonically lucid “Minor Mystery”, where indulging in the guitar solo of Michalis Tsiftsis is undemanding. Whereas he shows off his legato technique over a 5/4 bluesy spell, Pod slightly expands his chops during the closing vamp before entering in a 30-second hip-hop state of mind on “Reminiscence”.

Enveloped by a balmy breeze, “L.” bounces with the conspicuous intervallic cadence brought up by the bass of Kimon Karoutzos, who intrepidly ventures into improvisation on tunes like “Connection”, a hauntingly melodic pop/rock song, and “Billy Pod”, a 12-bar blues with a sweet, traditional taste and written by guest pianist George Kontrafouris.

The predominantly soft nature of these tunes contrasts with the danceable approach used in the groovier “One Heart”, whose percussive flux in seven is interrupted at one point by a folk-imbued passage that escorts us to reticent Fender Rhodes statements by Yiannis Papadopoulos. In a flash, the eclectic guitarist Brad Shepik came to my mind.

The sophisti-pop of “Limit to Your Love”, a song penned by the pair Leslie Feist/Chilly Gonzales and popularized by James Blake in 2011, also brings a trip-hop-ish atmosphere, emitting chill-out vibes through Katerine Duska's soulful vocal work.

As a percussive experimentation, the title track detaches from the stream of songs, featuring Stephanos Chytiris on drums. If Pod opened the session with his drumming, then Tsiftsis uses poignant lyricism on the fingerpicked guitar to close it out.

Even embracing stylistic dispersion along the way, Pod finds his own balance through uncomplicated structures and persuasive aesthetics that facilitate the listening.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
02 - Minor Mystery ► 05 - One Heart ► 09 - Connection


Twin Talk - Weaver

Label: 37d03d, 2019

Personnel - Dustin Laurenzi: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Katie Ernst: bass, vocals; Andrew Green: drums, percussion, gankogui bells.

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Formed in 2012, the adventurous Chicago-based trio Twin Talk is composed of reed player and main composer Dustin Laurenzi, bassist/vocalist Katie Ernst, and drummer Andrew Green. Their sophomore album, Weaver, has no harmonic coloration in its passages but that doesn’t mean a less rich sonic palette. In fact, they seize on overdubbing and a careful post-production treatment to attain the desired sound and texture.

The title cut opens the record with sax-vocals consonance, preceding a groove that will sustain more unison phrases, this time accented by each of the group members, whose actions weigh equally in the final product. As the song moves forward, a cloudy rock accumulation invites Laurenzi to improvise before Ernst’s wordless vocals catch him toward the final theme.

The art of delivering witty unison licks with perfect notions of tempo and attack is featured in many of the tunes. “Five” and “The Sky Never Ends” are two good models. The former bestows a sense of floating, which, disturbed by the creative stomp of the drummer, evolves into something muscular and uncanny; the latter begins in a relaxed 4/4 before slightly dissonant layers and odd-metered passages with looped phrases come to life. The third phase of the song is slightly darker, gliding on an unrugged surface built on the basis of drones.

If “Folks” shows the band’s affinity for easygoing pop/rock with a tasteful beat and nice melodic paths trailed by overdubbing horns, then “Paxton” adopts a true rocking posture marked by a resilient spirit and explorative temperament. The driving rhythm and freedom of movements get them closer to the avant-garde genre; yet, the tune ends in a sluggish 3/4 after some abrupt transitions.

The sculptural shape of some pieces brought The Lounge Lizards and Blake Tartare to mind, while the vocalized intonations reminded me of Sara Serpa. Still, an regardless of any inspirational source, the band speaks with its own voice.

Written by Ernst, “Human Woman” and “Solace” are showcases for her voice, with the former offering an elated Eastern-like chant, later delivered in tandem with the saxophone until morphing into separate ostinatos.

With each member injecting distinct flavors into the music according to their creative individualities, Weaver is a step up in the Twin Talk’s out-of-the-mainstream jazz/rock spin.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
03 - Human Woman ► 07 - The Sky Never Ends ► 08 - Paxton


Dave Harrington - Pure Imagination, No Country

Label: Yeggs Records, 2019

Personnel - Dave Harrington: guitar, bass, synth, pedal steel, electronics; Lars Horntveth: electric piano, string synth; Will Shore: vibraphone; Jake Falby: violin; Andrew Fox: keyboards, synth, electronics; Samer Ghadry: drums.

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Listening to Dave Harrington Group can be a challenging assignment, especially for the ones who like everything neat and arranged with a sense of anticipation. On his latest effort, Pure Imagination, No Country, Harrington, who is an experimental multi-instrumentalist with a predilection for guitar, is accompanied by Will Shore on vibraphone, Andrew Fox on keyboards and electronics, Samer Ghadry on drums, Jake Falby on violin, and Lars Horntveth, a Norwegian multi-instrumentalist and one of the main songwriters of experimental jazz group Jaga Jazzist. This release finds them melding rock, jazz and electronic music with a gut-feeling that reflects our current times.

The short overture, “Well”, has the band diving headfirst into psychedelic rock. It presents a thoroughly crafted drumbeat, pretty active bass lines with some dirtiness surrounding them, and multicolored vibes. Hooked in the drumming showcase of Ghadry, “Belgrade Fever” intermingles the melodicism of Pink Floyd’s early years and the persistent krautrock-like atmosphere of Can. However, it was “Then I Woke Up” that quickly conquered my ear due to the gripping aesthetic of distorted guitars, dance-rock drumming, and consolidated electronics. The synth bass keeps this pop/rock circularity running as we hear sonic pollution covering the canvas in a progressive direction. The band makes atmospheric stops along the way, spreading some mystery in the air by way of a long-standing thrum.

Slides Redux” purges a giddy, paranoid sonority before brooding synth chords and searing guitar lines take over. Conversely, “Neoarctic Organs” is a slow-core exercise with some ethereal flights and a crescendo that terminates brusquely.

The group sets “Patch One”, the longest track on the record, with some doses of abstraction, proposing an unsettling murk. Percussive punches and cymbal splashes are a constant in a relentless exercise that feels feathery on one hand and heavy on the other. From midway through, a jazzy pulse meets the noise rock, thickening up the texture and reminiscing some works of The Cinematic Orchestra.

Counter-parting the more experimental flux of the album, which Harrington admits inspired by Miles Davis’ electric years, “Pure Imagination” works like redemption with its beautiful country/folk orientation. There’s something profound and special in this particular dreamlike ambience, which closes out the album like an act of emancipation.

Harrington, who has the capacity of sustaining a wealth of moods while building hypnotic tension, has a fine album here.

Grade  B+

Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
04 - Then I Woke Up ► 07 - Patch One ► 09 - Pure Imagination


Ernie Watts Quartet - Home Light

Label: Flying Dolphin Records, 2019

Personnel – Ernie Watts: saxophones; Christof Sanger: piano; Rudi Engel: bass; Heirich Koebberling: drums.

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Veteran tenorman Ernie Watts, 73, has recorded with numerable musicians in wide-ranging musical genres. Apart from integrating the Charlie Haden Quartet West, Watts gave major contributions to works by Cannonball Adderley, Bobby Hutcherson, Jean-Luc Ponty, Lee Ritenour, Gerald Wilson, and Quincy Jones, just to name a few. Outside the jazz scene, he got known for his collaborations with Frank Zappa, Marvin Gaye, and Carole King, as well as for touring with The Rolling Stones.

In the mid-2000s, Watts convened his European quartet with three German musicians: pianist Christof Sanger, bassist Rudi Engel, and drummer Heirich Koebberling. Their new outing, Home Light, is a straight-ahead ride with no bumps or stumbles that begins with “I Forgot August”, a contrafact of “I’ll Remember April”. Here, the saxophonist shows off his deft soloing skills and has the pianist joining him in the B section of the theme, doubling the melody.

Frequie Flyiers” is an uptempo, all the more vibrant, bebop-oriented number where he shows a compelling command of timbre, delivering a powerful final statement merely backed by drums. This particular section is evocative of Ornette Coleman.

Both “Spinning Wheel” and the title cut are soulful songs that have the name of Sanger in the writing credits. The pianist penned the former tune as a non-swinging 4/4 post-bop ride, while the latter, dedicated to the late American drummer Leon ‘Ndugu' Chancler, is a gospel-tinged waltz that resulted from a compositional collaboration with Watts.

O.P.” could stand for Oscar Peterson, but it doesn’t. It’s Oscar Petiford, the bassist who mentored Sam Jones, author of this enthusiastic hard-bop piece. The solos from bass, sax, and piano are shrouded in frenzied intensity and the band trades fours with Koebberling by the end. The latter contributed one piece, “Cafe Central 2AM”, which lilts with a gentle, bohemian attitude.

Written by trumpeter Brad Goode, with whom Watts worked recently on the former's quintet album That's Right! (Origin Records, 2018), “Joe” is another dedication, this time to saxophonist Joe Henderson. It’s a stouthearted, swinging incursion into Latin jazz designed with an extra soprano saxophone attached through overdubbing.

Demonstrating a bonafide inner motivation, Watts mixes earthly vibes with some occasional spirituality, keeping jazz in its purest, classic forms.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
04 - Frequie Flyiers ► 06 - O.P. ► 08 - Joe


Ralph Alessi - Imaginary Friends

Label: ECM Records, 2019

Personnel - Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Ravi Coltrane: tenor, sopranino; Andy Milne: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Mark Ferber: drums.

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Trumpeter supreme Ralph Alessi reconvenes his longtime quintet, known as This Against That, for its third ECM album. Imaginary Friends comprises nine mature originals fully developed while touring in Europe. Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Andy Milne, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Mark Ferber are the remaining members of the group.

They make a wonderful first impression on the soulful opening track, “Iram Issela”, whose strange title consists of the name of Alessi’s eight-year-old daughter spelt backwards. Piano and trumpet set up reserved moments of pure beauty, after which Alessi flies in a solo full of brightness and expression. At a certain point, already with bass and brushed drums as accompaniment, he gets Coltrane’s voice leading running in parallel with his melodies. The saxophonist then departs for a glorious improvisation full of art and spirituality. By the end, unison lines and circular harmonic progressions raise the intensity, a propitious time for Ferber to expand drumming chops.

Fun Room” and “Improper Authorities” are formidable cuts presented with insatiable imagination and controlled friction. Whereas the former boasts an odd way of swinging and reaches a peak with Alessi’s fluttering soloistic impulses, the latter wields an ostinato that whether works as an electronic dance pattern or a funk rock-based motif. Colorful unisons and virtuosic solos by Coltrane and Milne come into existence, with the pianist excelling on this one by competently outlining melodic symmetries and rhythmic figures.

Oxide” merges improvisatory discipline with oneiric melodicism. While Milne devises chromatic descents with purpose, Gress’ round notes are responsible for letting the music breathe. The horns switch from parallel movements to dialogue, and Milne concludes with cadenced intervals that resemble raindrops falling from a tree. Divergent in nature, this song doesn’t have the grooving quality of “Melee”, whose light-footed propulsion rules in most of its passages. The spotlight shifts from the trumpet to the piano to the expansive sopranino, which dances over the fidgety drumming without reservation. An instant avant-garde dish is served with some funk on the side.

Pittance” reveals as much introspection as the rubato trumpet/piano duet “Good Boy” or the title track, which amasses cymbal legato, bowed bass, and unclouded reflective polyphony. However, there’s a slight tension throughout, even with the prepared piano conferring it a distinct lyrical erudition.

The methodical, unfolding narrative arc of Imaginary Friends makes it an exceptional collection of impassioned, free-shimmering tone poems where the musical personality of Alessi shines through.

Grade  A

Grade A

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Iram Issela ► 03 - Improper Authorities ► 08 - Melee


Mats Eilertsen - And Then Comes The Night

Label: ECM Records, 2019

Personnel - Harmen Fraanje: piano; Mats Eilertsen: acoustic bass; Thomas Stronen: drums.

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Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen had a triumphant ECM debut in 2016 with Rubicon, an album featuring seven talented musicians. And Then Comes The Night, his new outing on the cited label, he reunited a trio formed a decade ago with fellow countrymen pianist Harmen Fraanje and drummer Thomas Stronen. Their music had already been captured on record twice, in 2010 and 2013, with releases on the Norwegian label Hubro. Each member got compositionally involved in the project, with the bandleader contributing five tunes, two of them in association with Fraanje, who brings a couple more of his own. The remaining two are credited to the collective.

Eilertsen’s “22” was written in response to the terrorist massacre on the island of Utoya on July 22, 2011. It opens the recording session with elegiac tones, projecting serene classical-like melody against spacious yet rich bass/drums activity. A variation of this same composition closes out the album, bookending the remaining eight quietly acoustic pieces culled from the musicians’ lyrical depth. Fraanje’s “Albatross”, for instance, transpires a crystalline introspection, just as the trio’s “Perpetum”, which brings Eilertsen to the spotlight in the course of an elegant consonance between steadfast pizzicato and spiritual bowed bass. With introductory percussion creating suspended moments by means of silence and nuance, this ambiguous peregrination may be evocative of the vastness of the desert or the infiniteness of the universe.

By the same token, the crisply executed “The Void” invites the listeners to the mysticism of unconfined, unknown spaces. The trio rambles during the first minutes before finding a demarcated path where agreeable contours of melody connect to lush chordal fluxes. It is all sustained by the strong presence of the bass and a snare drum precipitating unflappable eruptions. This is an old Eilertsen composition that happens to be one of his strongest.

With one piece flowing into another with a calm reserve, the album feels like a suite. There’s temperance at every turn, and the title track, named after the novel of the same name by Icelandic Jon Kalman Stefansson, emulsifies repeated melodic figures into the static framework. This disposition is ultimately diverted through the installation of a primitive groove that stirs the pianist’s improvisatory creativity.

If you’re looking for depth of sound and some relaxing aural experiences, then this is an album you should get.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
02 - Perpetum ► 05 - The Void ► 08 - Then Comes the Night


Jamie Saft / Steve Swallow / Bobby Previte - You Don't Know The Life

Label: RareNoise, 2019

Personnel - Jamie Saft: keyboards; Steve Swallow: electric bass; Bobby Previte: drums.

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What an amazing sound Jamie Saft exudes from the Baldwin electric harpsichord on “Re: Person I Knew”. Rocking and grooving like if Sun Ra had joined forces with Deep Purple, this fresh take on the Bill Evans’ tune welcomes you to You Don’t Know Life, the third effort of the keyboardist with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bobby Previte. The organ-centered album is a tempting combination of improvisations, standards, and Saft originals.

The three free improvisations almost don’t feel like such, considering that they naturally preserve backbone stability and follow a specific direction. “Dark Squares” is cooked patiently with nebulous synth chops at a medium-slow tempo. Sometimes noir, sometimes celestial, the tune has Saft choosing between long-held notes and staccato punctuation. “Breath From Water” flows steadily, suffused with Previte’s pervading drum timbres, which are even more authoritative on Roswell Rudd’s succinct “Ode To a Green Frisbee”. On the other hand, “The Break of the Flat Land” proves the less impetuous, more spacious of the three.

The effective bass/drums pairing provides a reliable structure, whether if the tune is tender, like the brushed waltzing “You Don’t Know the Life” by the psych-rock band Moving Sidewalks, or unnerving, such as Saft’s “The Cloak”, where soul music tries to fraternize with prog-rock, and its swinging continuation “Stable Manifolds”, which, after entering in the groovy territory of Jimmy Smith and Dr. Lonnie Smith, ends with caustic chromatic movements. Closing out the album in a low-key style are two standards, “Moonlight in Vermont” and “Alfie”.

This disc is a solid, accessible offering. It doesn't particularly feel like a shift in mindset, but rather a fun sculptural exploration of the organ trio format.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Re: Person I Knew ► 02 - Dark Squares ► 06 - The Cloak


Christian McBride - New Jawn

Label: Mack Avenue, 2018

Personnel - Marcus Strickland: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Josh Evans: trumpet; Christian McBride: double bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.

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Philadelphia-born Christian McBride, one of the most fluid and fluent jazz bassists in the world, debuts a new quartet, New Jawn, whose name derives from Philly jargon and can be translated as ‘new joint’. The quartet affiliates - saxophonist Marcus Strickland, trumpeter Josh Evans, and drummer Nasheet Waits - contribute with two compositions each to a colorful song list that also admits Wayne Shorter’s “Sightseeing”.

The group’s eponymous album spreads thrillingly fresh ideas that surge with infectious energy and grandiose conviction. A great example of that is the opening tune, McBride’s “Walkin’ Funny”, which blends the exhilaration of Lee Morgan’s melodies with asymmetric notions of rhythm and collective improvisatory effervescence that refuses any commercial approach in favor of creative freedom. This same posture marks Waits’ “Ke-Kelli Sketch”, where compelling bowed bass is turned into a galloping groove, at the same time that early loose drumming becomes profusely acute, erecting an elastic avant-garde background over which Evans engraves discernible rhythmic figures. The foundation is reconfigured into a soul-imbued template to welcome Strickland’s melody-driven speech.

Evans’ pieces, “The Ballad of Ernie Washington” and “Pier One Import”, bring chunks of tradition in its rollicking lines. The former brims with a melodicism that is worthy of the Great American Songbook, while the latter is a post-bop incursion with lustrous unison phrases and killing solos. In turn, Strickland bestows “The Middle Me”, a swing ride taken at a burning tempo with a Freddie Hubbard-like intensity, and “Seek The Source”, a blues where everyone finds room to stretch out.

Employing brushes for a more meditative circumstance, Waits outlines his “Kush” song with delicacy. McBride doesn’t let this low-key vibe curb his arco extemporization while Strickland upholds the groove on bass clarinet. The bandleader also improvises on the moderate walker “John Day”, a tune he wrote in 3/4 with a gorgeous head riff and a Nardis-like semblance.

Communicating with countless details and peculiarities, these cats prove they dominate the jazz idiom from end to end.

Grade  A-

Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Walkin’ Funny ► 02 - Ke-Kelli Sketch ► 08 - John Day


Michael Wolff - Swirl

Label: Sunnyside Records, 2019

Personnel – Michael Wolff: piano; Ben Allison: acoustic bass; Allan Mednard: drums.

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Michael Wolff is a pianist, composer and bandleader, who has performed with greats such as Cannonball Adderley and Sonny Rollins. He played a five-year stint in the Arsenio Hall’s late-night talk show as a musical director and has 17 records under his belt. At 66, and after beating a rare cancer, Wolff joins two agile foundation builders: bassist Ben Allison and drummer Allan Mednard, with whom he negotiates the best rhythmic burn for each tune on Swirl, his new outing on the Sunnyside record label.

The buoyant opener, “Allison”, was named after the bassist, who co-wrote the second section of the tune after has been presented with its first part, already put on paper by the bandleader. Alluding to the blues, the song feels hip in the beat, winning in the groove, and likable in the melody.

The eventful “Metairie” encompasses multiple influences. While the swing derives from jazz, the romantic aesthetic comes from classical, with the Latin accents making it danceable as a tango. Instead, Allison’s “The Detective’s Wife” is a fluttering, vagrant bolero that captivates at every move. This recent composition was included in the bassist’s latest album Layers of the City.

Wolff penned “Jenny V9” for a friend who also went through a serious health condition. Scintillating with a keen melodic sensibility, it flows breezily in six, shifting regularly to an additive 6+5 tempo in a complementary vamp passage .

If “Tough Ashkenazy” hangs onto a resolute 4/4 motion, boasting a blues-rock piano riff and categorical improvisations by Wolff and Allison, then “Goodbye Too Late”, written for Wolff’s late father, provides a more serene experience, projecting some ambiguity through the chord movements in a balladic 3/4 signature meter.

Before concluding with the title track, where one can find fleetly swirling cadences on the piano within a gentle environment, the band imparts their takes on a couple of standards. “Angel Eyes” carries deep feelings allied to delicious details for the freshness of sound, while “I Didn’t Know What Time it Was” is coated with warmness and percussive decoy.

Part of the appeal comes from the effortlessness associated with the trio’s moves together with the inspired way they set things up. Wolff is a resourceful pianist who happens to be charismatic as well, and those qualities reflect brightly in this recording.

Grade  B+

Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Allison ► 03 - Jenny V9 ► 05 - Angel Eyes


Joe Lovano - Trio Tapestry

Label: ECM Records, 2019

Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Marilyn Crispell: piano; Carmen Castaldi: drums.

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Grammy-award winning composer/saxophonist Joe Lovano makes his debut on the ECM Records with Trio Tapestry, a new project that integrates the highly expressive pianism of Marilyn Crispell and the inspiring drumming of Carmen Castaldi. Adopting a democratic posture, the group has the pianist and the drummer contributing in an intense way to shape Lovano’s compositions into something uniquely intimate and beautiful.

The opener, “One Time In”, a one-on-one conversation between saxophone and percussion, bristles with deliberately prayerful melodies, unpredictable percussive trajectories, and bright gongs. It leads to the most enchanting piece on the record, “Seeds of Change”, which, gravitating with lamenting intonations, illuminates the world with the warm spiritual light it needs at the present time. Don’t be surprised if you get this positive, energetic current going down your spine as this song firstly caresses your ears and then touches your heart, transporting you to a heavenly dimension.

Crispell introduces “Razzle Dazzle” with pianistic reverie and a generous dash of abstraction. The feel is corroborated by the Motian-esque spaciousness of Castaldi’s brushwork along with the plaintive lines of Lovano.

Sparkle Light” and “Rare And Beauty” exhibit sax and piano in close collaboration, whether in the form of unisons or complementing each other with intensely deep movements, frequent emitters of peacefulness. On the latter piece, the unison statements are a bit more energetic, but there’s still a propensity toward tranquility. Leisurely rhythmic flexibility often welcomes passionate individual statements. However, this is music with commitment and Castaldi’s unobtrusive drumming asserts that there is no space for egos here, only solidarity and integrity. He showcases his gong percussion on “Gong Episode” as well as on “Mystic”, a piece he occasionally agitates with mallets, yet prevailing the general state of musing.

By displaying contemplative virtues, the trio doesn’t resort to showing you everything they can do. What they do here is harder than showing off all their technique and musical prowess at once. These tunes fly and soar before penetrating into our minds. However, compositions like “Spirit Lake” - aesthetically assembled with arpeggiated tension, restless drumming, and emotionally blazing saxophone - and “The Smiling Dog” - the biting closing piece whose intensity expands via crafted rhythmic accents and the strong communicative presence of the artists - bring in many other colors, conjuring up avant-garde jazz routines that never cease to spiritualize and amaze.

The creativity and adaptability of Lovano and his peers stimulate Trio Tapestry to endlessly pique our interest with a lucent musicality from which we don’t want to be apart.

Grade  A

Grade A

Favorite Tracks:
02 - Seeds of Change ► 08 - Rare Beauty ► 11 - The Smiling Dog


DarkMatterHalo - Discernible Grid

Label: Hardedge, 2018

Personnel – Hardedge: sound design; Brandon Ross: guitar; Doug Wieselman: guitar.

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Known for its utterly unique experimentalism and obscurity of sound, DarkMatterHalo is a collaborative effort by sound designer Hardedge and guitarists Brandon Ross and Doug Wieselman. Ambling through tapestries of abstract clutter, Discernible Grid is their newest program of six explorative tracks.

Sunk in a pool of well-coordinated electronic effects that include water sounds, oft-repeated chirps, bizarre rattles and grainy scratches, bell chimes, and futuristic noises and vibes, “Sub-urban” maintains the mysterious spaciousness until the end in the company of some eerie guitar work. Delving into a strange, brooding muse, the trio makes us wonder where we are taken, especially when the guitar activity intensifies to create moderate psychedelia.

Remaining torpid and trippy for most of the time, “Gasping Silence” embarks on the tidal ebbs and flows of experimental ambient. The flickering, sometimes murmuring guitars ease the mood, but don’t remove the deep abstraction of the setting.

More palpable in texture and direction, “In Difference” renders a combination of droning vibes and chiming guitar glow in a twitchy crescendo that also incorporates suitable percussive sounds. This dark ritual creates suspense and will leave you under a spell for the time it runs.

If “The Final Tear” is a techno/trance exercise disrupted by a prolonged gust of noise pollution, “Stop Watching” proposes outlandish conversations with plenty of effects, crisscrossing ostinatos, rusty chords, and distorted notes that can be pulled into harmonics or fall into a downward spiral.

Closing out the album, “Fathom” incorporates atmospheric fingerpicking to conceptualize a noir country-ish scenario with occasional bluesy haziness. The music then metamorphoses, exposing electric guitar sounds, in its distorted and pointillistic modes, over a braindance backdrop.

Sidestepping conventions through uncompromising manipulations of sound, this is an intriguing project that will mainly appeal to open-minded listeners.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
03 – In Difference ► 05 - Stop Watching ► 06 - Fathom