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
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more