Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Dave Kerman / 5uu's — The Quiet in Your Bones
(Cuneiform no#, 2022, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2022-09-14
Dave Kerman has never been about comfortable listening when it comes to his 5uu’s project. The group has been through many incarnations, evolving from a loosely organized band to Kerman with guests, and The Quiet in Your Bones provides another chapter in this ongoing saga. The first impression upon listening to the album is that Kerman has certainly not mellowed with age — this record is as challenging to listen to as anything else in the catalog. It is uncompromising and spiky, reminiscent of Art Bears at times, and resolutely difficult to absorb. Kerman plays most of the instruments, and he’s joined by Michèle Fuchs (vocals, trumpet, euphonium), Liesbeth Lambrecht (viola), Bill Gilonis (guitar, bass clarinet), Dave Willey (organ), Keith Macksoud (bass), and Joel Trieger (guitar), who (aside from Fuchs) appear on a single track each. The dominant vocal presence is Fuchs, and her singing may remind some listeners of Dagmar Krause, so I suppose this will be yet another polarizing factor in the music. If you’re looking for grooves, you’re in the wrong place. These tracks are a constant flow of jagged lines and unpredictable rhythms held together by sheer determination. As with the most strident RIO, dissonance pushes out beauty, leaving an intense emotional landscape where even the quietest moments are unsettling, consisting of crashing noises and ominous atmospherics. I haven’t studied the lyrics very closely, but I do like this line from “Sociopath Song”: “I ask your opinion merely out of courtesy, it doesn’t really matter if you even answer me.” Needless to say, The Quiet in Your Bones is not for everyone, but I love listening to music that challenges me, and would rather hear artful dissonance than mindless consonant harmony any day. It’s the kind of music that can bear repeated listens — in fact, demands them — to take in its details. File under Uneasy Listening.
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