Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lean Left - Live at the Cafe Oto (Unsounds, 2012)

Saxophone and clarinet player Ken Vandermark and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love met up for a live performance at London's Cafe Oto with Andy Moor and Terrie Hessells, guitarists from the Dutch experimental punk band The Ex under the collective name Lean Left. The music can be extraordinarily powerful, with two lengthy free improvisations allowing the group to blast off as well as to investigate more melodic and abstract features. "Koevoet" reaches a peak about 24 minutes in as the guitarists scour behind Vandermark who leans back with thrilling guttural wails. Nilssen-Love, who has been playing with Vandermark for years is right with the rest of the group stoking the fire. The music drifts off into hypnotic drones at times, long lines of sound that reverberate across the performance. "Drevel" is the concluding performance, coming out of the gate blasting ruthlessly are the twin guitars and drums, laying the groundwork for Vandermark's caustic tenor saxophone. Sounding for a brief second like some of the raunchiest music of The Stooges (L.A. Blues) the texture of the sound becomes frighteningly thrilling. They bring in some aspects of funk that Vandermark used in his sorely missed group Spaceways Inc. But the music surpasses any boundaries that may be presented by blues or rock and roll and is a magical exercise in the possibilities of freedom. Developing smears of sound that move the music dynamically through abstraction to full throttle excitement, the band has powerhouse qualities that are nearly overwhelming. They simply blast off into the cosmos on a kaleidoscope of pure sound. The music grows organically and the musicians are attuned to each other and the ebb and flow of the energy. Live At Cafe Oto - amazon.com The entire album on mp3 costs $1.98. Beat that.

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