Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Full Blast - Risc (Trost, 2016)

Full Blast is the extraordinary unit made up of Peter Brötzmann on reeds, Marino Pliakas on electric bass and Michael Wertmüller on drums. Their fifth album finds the band with the desire to try something new, writing seven compositions with the characteristically strong Full Blast feel and then giving a few of them an electronic makeover by Wertmüller, thereby pushing the band in a new and unforeseen direction. “Try Krala” opens the album with Brotzmann’s bass clarinet navigating a thicket of electronics and bass as primal sounding drums bubble up and the music develops a sense of urgency. Tricky rhythms are developed which Brotzmann switches to tenor and then proceeds to plow right through, developing a ripe solo in the process. The electronic treatment adds elements of raw noise that can be disconcerting, but it still is the trio itself at full throttle is still the most exciting element of them all. There is something like a disconcerting chatter just beneath the core of the music that comes through on the breaks as ominous beats and chirps that go toe to toe with the members of the band making for some really unexpected textures. There is a choppier and jazzier open to “Café Ingrid” with the full band improvising collectively, playing very nice and lightly on their feet. The electronics seem to be laying out for this section, so it’s just straight up free jazz played at the highest quality. Thrashing drumming, scouring saxophone and elastic bass keeping everything from flying apart, and this is just fantastic music. “Garnison House” begins with drumming and some deep rumbling bass, before deeply visceral saxophone joins the fray and the game is afoot. The bass is particularly excellent, a subterranean growl beneath your feet supplying deep currency while Brotzmann and Wertmuller wail relentlessly, tapping into a seemingly limitless wellspring of musical ideas. It makes for flat out thrilling collective improvisation, with blasting waves of drums that are relentless in their furor. Opening with an audio clip of Timothy Leary’s infamous advice to “turn on, tune in and drop out…” “TTL” has the electronics back with a vengeance juxtaposed against Brotzmann’s blustery saxophone. This makes the music develop into an organ like drone that swirls around the intentionally primitive drumming. Slabs of sound zoom around ominously as everything is remixed beyond recognition, using repetition to build tension and then bursting through it. The band breaks out and howls with the remaining electronic manipulation framing them. Wertmuller drives the music relentlessly most of the time, even through the tumult of processed noise. Finally “Roguery” has digital noises that have Brotzmann’s clarinet embedded within them like a fly trapped in amber. Heavy percussion noises and drums pound, opposite the howling clarinet, and it’s very human like screams over the industrial like clamor are quite unnerving. Brotzmann breaks out soloing hard, the massive beast nipping at his heels, as the track develops into a John Henry like battle of man versus machine. This was a very good album, and credit definitely goes to the band for not resting on their laurels by adding the electronics for this album. It is definitely one of their best and fans of free jazz absolutely need to check it out. Rise -

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