Saturday, June 06, 2015

Cactus Truck - Seizures Palace (NotTwo Records, 2015)

Cactus Truck is a white hot new jazz unit from Amsterdam consisting of John Dikeman on  saxophones, Onno Govaert on drums and Jasper Stadhouders on guitar. Their mix of free jazz and noise rock is a wonderful and thrilling combination that begins on this album after a short palate cleanser with “Will to Power” where raw saxophone and drums throw down, getting nicely free, loud, and tremendously exciting at full throttle. Raw saxophone and roiling drums recall Peter Brotzmann and Hamid Drake but then Stadhouders comes in to add smears of guitar making for an ominous electronic soundscape, slashing before Dikeman claws back to reclaim his domain. “Drones (6:16)” opens with drums and guitar eradicating everything in their path. Dikeman fearlessly wades into the fray and lets loose wails of epic saxophone focused and squealing, he is all over the place and relentlessly chased by slamming metallic guitar shredding and punishing drums. Taken a touch slower, on “Fetzer” saxophone and drums build a mysterious, existential anxiety: how did they get here? They begin searching, looking for something, delving into cracks and crevices of the song. Then they find it - Stadhouders’s guitar rears up like a massive beast - an excavator on an alien planet, destined to find the true answer. A rattling drum solo opens “Fuck You Nash” joined by lucid fire breathing saxophone which keeps the pace with an ESP like quality between the two musicians. Stadhouders is wise to slip into the background at times like this, like McCoy Tyner used to do when Elvin Jones and John Coltrane began to roar ever upwards on tracks like “Chasin” the Trane.” There is no letup on “One For Roy” with vigorous guitar and thrashing drumming - Govaert is really the unsung hero, he is epic and his goading brings Dikeman busting in to take control, which ups the guitar noise and then the domino falls to Govaert who takes the whole trio into orbit. “Fourth Wind” has all hands on deck with everybody wailing hard, just killing  it as the sax wails on top and drums pound relentlessly below. Stadhouders holds things things together and keeps things from flying apart as they roar to a blasting finish. This is a wild ride and a blast of fun that shows no mercy and would be welcome both at a rock festival or an open minded jazz club. May many of those bookings follow, because they deserve the attention. Seizures Palace -

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