Thursday, April 09, 2009

Outhouse - self titled (Babel, 2008)

Outhouse is a British jazz band that according to their press got their name from their rehearsal space - an outdoor privy. Consisting of Mark Hanslip on tenor saxophone, Robin Fincker on tenor saxophone & clarinet, Johnny Brierley on bass and Dave Smith on drums & percussion, their music is very intricate with interesting twists and turns, and reminds me of some of the recent music by American saxophonist Steve Coleman. "The Tin Box" opens the album on a very strong note with and upbeat tempo, with some cool riffing and unaccompanied saxophone sections tied together by strong drumming. "Japaseloho" has some very interesting sounding percussion work, integrated with the saxophones. "Pig" has complex open sounding improvisation, building to an intense tenor saxophone and drums section. After a slow bass solo, the group drops back into a more probing improv. "The Foreign Meat" changes things up a little bit, beginning with some hyperactive percussion and adding wordless vocals who sings in harmony with the horns, making for a very cool sound. "MU" finds the saxes opening and weaving before the bass and drums enter and build tension. "Zmerish" has the saxophones improvising with the vocalist again before she lays out and gives way to a strong tenor saxophone solo and excellent drumming. This album took a little while to grow on me, but I really began to enjoy it. The group has a finely honed and unique sound, especially the drummer Smith, who has an excellent conception and keeps the music consistently interesting.
Outhouse -

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