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Feral Luggage — Diaspora Focii
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, DL / CD)

Feral Luggage + Diaspora Focii Trio — Blue in Abstraction
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-04-12

Diaspora Focii Cover artBlue in Abstraction Cover art

As one listens to the track “Mining the Radio of Dreams” on Diaspora Focii, a sense of helplessness ensues as the listener gets drawn into a cauldron of pure sonic chaos and free improvisational madness, swirling and churning in a seemingly infinite nightmarish whirlwind of bedlam. The sense of chaos, confusion and disorder grows rapidly as the twelve-plus minute piece unfolds, and the listener is left to wonder whether these musicians are masters of free improvisation, or if they can even hear each other while they are playing, an effect that is at once gentle and calming, while at the same time unsettling and helter-skelter. Feral Luggage is one of four related bands who share many of the same members — the other bands being Cartoon Justice, Voi Maa, and the Diaspora Focii Trio; there may be more, but those are the only ones I am aware of at this time; the difference between them is sometimes just the presence of absence of one player, resulting in a slightly different attitude. On the earlier release Diaspora Focii (2020) the core members were Mika Pontecorvo (guitar, electronics), Kersti Abrams (saxes, flute), Elijah Pontecorvo (upright and electric bass), Adriane Pontecorvo (cello), and two drummers: Patrick Talesfore Jr and Mark Pino. Both drummers left over the course of the pandemic, and new drummer Zach Morris was brought on board for the Feral Luggage portion of Blue in Abstraction (2022). In addition (or subtraction, if you will), cellist Adriane Pontecorvo has gone missing (working on her PhD I’m told) so two new members were brought onboard: Colleen Kelly T (cello) and Jaroba (bass clarinet and tenor sax). The Diaspora Focii Trio, who are represented on the last three tracks of Blue in Abstraction, are Kersti Abrams, Mika Pontecorvo, and Jaroba, playing a wider range of instrumentation. The Feral Luggage tracks (the first four on Blue…) may start out a little softer than those on the 2020 release but waste no time getting back into that crazy free-jazz insanity described earlier in this review, but Diaspora Focii Trio’s three cuts (beginning with “Hearing Motion”) are far less dense by virtue of having only half the number of musicians playing, but share a similar attitude. Fans of free jazz improvisation would do well to check out both of these releases.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Feral Luggage

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