Atomic Ape — Swarm
(Web of Mimicry WOM044, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-05-20Led by composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jason Schimmel, also a current member of Secret Chiefs 3, and formerly of Estradasphere and the short lived Orange Tulip Conspiracy, Atomic Ape picks up more or less where the latter band left off. The eleven tracks herein represent a twisted ride of genre-bending instrumental rock blended with influences from around the globe, and the players seem to be having a lot of fun doing it. Nothing is off limits here, although I have to say that the metal extremities and general weirdness one might have found on a typical Estradasphere album are toned down and refined into something far more enjoyable. Joining Schimmel are many of his former bandmates from throughout the years: Estradasphere alumni Timba Harris (violin), Adam Stacey (keys), John Whoolilurie (sax), and Lee Smith (drums) are all here; also on board are Trey Spruance (guitar) and Eyvind Kang (viola) from Secret Chiefs 3. Percussionist Danny Frankel, bassist Devin Hoff, and numerous other outstanding instrumentalists contribute to this wild ride as well, with just about every instrument imaginable being represented, track depending. Most of what’s here is fast paced and energetic, brimming with brilliance. Jazz and big-band stylings make frequent appearances throughout, with touches of Euro-ethnic folk and middle eastern themes. One might hope that, unlike Orange Tulip Conspiracy, Atomic Ape lasts for more than a single album. But if it doesn’t, so be it. Swarm is a powerful statement by any measure.
Related artist(s): Atomic Ape
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more