Friday, April 25, 2014

Chicago Underground Duo - Locus (Northern Spy, 2014)

Moving beyond any preconceived genre of music, The Chicago Underground Duo fills their own unique niche. While this band only has two members, Rob Mazurek on cornet, electronics and flute and Chad Taylor on percussion and guitar the sound they develop is deep and heavy. The second track, "Boss," is extraordinary, with tsunamis of electronics and cornet over pile-driving drums. "The Human Economy" takes things in a different direction, building a moody feel that is like a combination of Miles Davis' "In A Silent Way" with early Pink Floyd. Chad Taylor gets an excellent feature in "Yaa Yaa Kole" developing an exotic percussive sound similar to steel pans. There's a deeply rhythmic sensibility here with Taylor's sound being reminiscent of Bill Bruford's work with electronic percussion in the early 1980's iteration of King Crimson. Mazurek folds his horn in faster and faster with a duet of cornet and drums concluding the piece. "Borrow and Burry" introduces flute along with scrapes of skittering guitar. The music has a creepy sense of being, and wouldn't sound out of place alongside of Sun Ra's unusual album Strange Strings. Massive drumming and the sound of electronically manipulated horn open the composition "Blink Out." Layers of music assault the senses with punchy cornet ripping through the thick sound which even builds to an electronic dance music flourish. On "Kabuki" electronic and acoustic percussion develops a hypnotic nature with smears of organ making a haunting drone. Finally, "Dante" is an uptempo performance with piano and undulating electronics broken by squalls of sounds and rupturing horn. This album was excellent, always interesting and pulling in every conceivable direction whether it be jazz, rock 'n' roll or electronic music, and just knocking it out of the park. This is a must-hear for open eared music followers. Locus -

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