Sunday, June 23, 2013

Black Host - Life in the Sugar Mines (Northern Spy, 2013)

Black Host is a collective outfit consisting of Darius Jones on alto saxophone, Brandon Seabrook on guitar, Cooper-Moore  on piano and synthesizer, Pascal Niggenkemper on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums. This represents a coming together of some of the most interesting players on the avant-free scene and they mix together melodic songs and wide open improvisation. They get off to a roaring start with "Hover" and "Ayler Children" with the former developing a powerful performance over the course of sixteen minutes, and on the latter, the spirit of Albert Ayler is present as they develop simple themes into a thrilling texture of improvisation. Seabrook builds electroshock guitar to a pleasant cacophony as Jones adds wails of saxophone pushing the outer limits of their conception, creating powerful, seething music. Ominous clanks and chords move in on "Amsterdam/Frames" with vaporous gusts of electronics adding to the ghostly labyrinth of the music. "Gromek" is a fascinating performance with Cleaver building an industrial piston sound of propulsive drumming. Jones develops eerie foghorn saxophone into the rhythmic incantations. The music becomes a hypnotic abutment of sound, rushing forward with  massive slabs of noise. Fearsome and hyperkenetic music develops a deep beat over squiggly electronics in as sampled lyrics bubble up on "Wrestling." "May Be Home" wraps up the album with a mysterious opening that is spare and spacious, recalling the ambiance of a lonely night in a big city. Piano and bass build a stark noir soundscape with ominous portents. Life in the Sugar Candle Mines -

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