Cucamonga — Alter Huevo
(AltrOck Productions ALT024, 2012, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-04-01Alter Huevo kicks off with a goofy carnival polka arranged for marimba, accordion, and electric piano. Not much later, some odd vocal noises make an appearance, and then the band jumps into a cool jazz-rock section led by guitar and sax. The rhythm section has a precise quality that reminds me of classic Canterbury bands like National Health; there are also occasional echoes of the jazzy instrumental side of Frank Zappa. The compositions tend to wander around in a wonderful unpredictable way without seeming jarring or incongruous. The musicianship is superb but not flashy, and there's a lot of inventiveness on display. The guitar has some downright freaky effects on it from time to time. Frequent use of mallet percussion enhances the Zappa resemblance (which is intentional, as the band's name refers to the California town where Zappa recorded). The bulk of the compositions come from guitarist Oscar Peralta, which might be surprising given how much the keyboards really define the band's sound. But it's really the compositions that are the star attraction, with their oddball twists and turns, their weird little diversions into insanity. For listeners whose shirts are overly stuffed, the occasional funny voices may prove fatal, but they shouldn't count as a negative for more flexible listeners. They are, after all, a fairly minor part of the mix. An outstanding discovery, worthy of wider notice.
Related artist(s): Cucamonga
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