Thursday, December 22, 2011

Weasel Walter - Ominous Telepathic Mayhem (ugExplode, 2011)

Drummer Weasel Walter brews up a potent free-jazz mixture with rock-ish overtones in a series of duet performances in the company of trumpeter Peter Evans, guitarist Mary Halvorson, alto saxophonist Darius Jones and clarinetist/guitarist Alex Ward. The music is quite heady and powerful, beginning with "Showering With Beer" and "Grannytram" both featuring Walter and Evans. The former begins with a frenetic and powerful open from the two musicians, before snarling and angry tones move into the primal and raw post-rock that Walter often champions on his blog. “Grannytram” has Evans spreading out long smears of trumpet over boiling percussion developing into the sound and fury one might expect from the soundtrack from an apocalyptic video game, before returning to long foghorn trumpet to exit. The next few tracks feature the guitarist Mary Halvorson, with “Free Sometimes Rules” beginning with a mysterious guitar opening before the drums build in and the musicians develop a wall of noise. A probing and open section develops, before being pinched off by rolling drums and guitar. “Let’s Get ‘em” develops a power duo concept with powerful and free avant jazz/noise reaching for the cosmos. As good as these tracks were they are eclipsed with the addition of alto saxophonist Darius Jones who develops a simpatico pairing with the drummer. Wild and punishing saxophone and drums build in on “Clarity,” making for an excellent full-throated improvisation. Sax and drums jab short phrases of music like boxers in a ring. The come in thrashing again on “Oracle” really developing a jazz groove, albeit a free and loud one, wailing at an amazing level. These pairings of musicians worked really well, they were on a high-wire of improvisation throughout, but revelled in the freedom and lack of barriers the music possessed. Ominous Telepathic Mayhem - amazon.com

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