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Bend the Future — Without Notice
(Tonzonen TON103, 2021, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2021-10-04

Without Notice Cover art

Bend the Future’s Without Notice is an excellent case for the rule of not judging an album by its cover. From the image, one might expect some kind of punk rock, but in fact the music is a sophisticated blend of progressive rock and jazz that includes elements of Canterbury — Panzerpappa is a good reference point. The opening track is “Lost in Time,” which starts with piano alone, with bass, drums, and sax joining shortly, before a relatively brief vocal section. Then they dive into an energetic riff with a Middle-Eastern flavor and intriguing complex rhythmic structure (7-7-6 mostly). Multiple lines on guitar and keyboards weave around each other, and the arrangement moves through varying sections spotlighting saxes, guitar, and synths. This band based in Grenoble is a six-piece featuring Rémi Pouchain (bass), Piel Pawlowski (drums), Samy Chëbre (keyboards), and Can Yıldırım (vocals, guitar, bass, synths) along with two sax players, Pierre-Jean Ménabé and Nemo Pawlowski on alto and soprano respectively. Some tracks tend more towards the jazz side, some more towards rock, but they’re all tasty and imaginative. Their use of odd meters sounds natural and flowing rather than angular and jerky. The bulk of the music is instrumental, though Yıldırım’s vocals are quite good, and sometimes treated with effects. Both saxophonists manage to be creative and not dip into sappiness even without getting into squawking or other extended sounds. The higher energy tracks seem to be front-loaded in the album, with the last few tunes being slower and more dramatic — they’re also good, though my preference is for the faster tempos. In any case, don’t let the cover art fool you, Without Notice is an excellent album that hits a sweet spot between jazz and rock.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Bend the Future

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