Wednesday, February 01, 2017

CP Unit - Before the Heat Death (Clean Feed Records, 2017)

Alto saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos leads this particular unit, enlisting Brandon Seabrook on electric guitar, Tim Dahl on electric bass and Weasel Walter on drums and creating an outrageously powerful band that plays scorching electric jazz which can take paint off the walls at high volume. For this project, the group plays improvised music which uses the structure of jazz but embellishing and melds it with their own experiences from a wide range of music ranging from punk to classical. "Fried" is an apt description of the music, coming on like gangbusters with ferocious guitar, bass and drums enveloping squalls of saxophone, and everything tumbling merrily along, which the group playing as a living, breathing organism, evolving into choppy saxophone and drumming which gives the music a nervous edge. The band displays fine group interplay on "Quantized" with the leader's pinched saxophone weaving through intricate accompaniment, before launching into a fine solo statement, and leading unrelenting cascades of fluid sound. They play with an outward bound edge and motivated collective improvisation, with the guitar, bass and drums unit shining of their own, bridging the jazz tradition, fusion and free music. "Death in the Afternoon" moves massive blocks of sound, with a loud and scouring tone. They play with a sense of explosive dynamism, egging on one another to even greater heights. Torrid gales of saxophone are met with relentless drumming and stoic bass and guitar, powering the music relentlessly forward, punching beats of time like an alarm and punctuating that with scorching improvised flights. Taking the group's strength to it's logical conclusion, "Guillotine" is a full out free improvisation with the noise and volume cranked up as far as possible. It's a short piece, but a bracing reminder of how extreme the group can be if they set their mind to it. The music of "Wet Brain" comes grinding in with a sense of malice aforethought, and raw, wounded noises arcing across the soundstage. Walter's rattling drums lead the music into a powerfully complex section, underpinned with excellent bass playing. Pitsiokos is a whirlwind of sound and fury amidst it all, and Seabrook's piercing guitar taking the music into exciting and unexpected directions. The music on this album is wild, fierce and raw, and the unique playing styles of the band members make massive gravitational waves of sound marking some adventurous music that has blurred the frontier between styles of music. Before the Heat Death -

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