Spring Heel Jack / The Blue Series Continuum — Masses
(Thirsty Ear THI57103.2, 2001, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2001-12-01
John Coxon and Ashley Wales take advantage of their Thirsty Ear jazzy label mates by diving head first into a maze of grooves, pulse and mood. But don’t expect a clever ambient dub from these blokes, instead there’s a maelstrom in their test-tube like minds on this expedition. The core of the improvisation surrounds Mathew Shipp’s unlikely set of players including William Parker and trumpet player Roy Campbell. But added to the mix are also a few notables from the UK (especially Evan Parker). The album’s opener, “Chorale,” is simply that, a slow-building layering of sound with Shipp providing base for industrial noise to superimpose itself. The most impressive piece out of the ten tracks is “Chiaroscuro,” on which saxophonist Daniel Carter solos over a throbbing bass pulse until complete cacophony descends. The title track is a random conversation between horn and percussion, which deposits the listener into a planned confusion that is both amusing and annoying. “Cross” picks up the tempo, pushed by Guillermo Brown’s driving kit and a blazing passage from violist Mat Maneri; Tim Berne even gets a turn on “Medusa’s Head,” shouldered against Evan Parker’s sonic barrage. In summary, it’s uncommon to hear a marriage between two disparate music scenes trying to find a common pathway. While it may not be as genre-breaking as fusion was in the 70s, hopefully this project has opened a Pandora’s box to potentially create a vague roadmap for further experimental endeavors.
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more