Monday, October 09, 2017

Brandon Seabrook - Die Trommel Fatale (New Atlantis, 2017)

Guitarist Brandon Seabrook is a very interested and multi-faceted musician, one who fits in no genre comfortable box, but that can contribute in any form, or lack thereof. He seems to be the most engaged when combining all types of music from folk to heavy metal and this particular laboratory experiment shows him blending the aspects of many different types of music in the company of Chuck Bettis on electronics and vocalization, Dave Treut and Sam Ospovat on drums, Markia Hughes on cello and Eivind Opsvik on bass. The music comes for the most part in unsubtle waves of torrential noise, with some spots left open for eerie and haunting abstraction. This album uses a great variety in its rhythmic presentation investigating the way in which these instruments can be used together when freed from their traditional roles. "Rhizomatic" is one of the more open ended and spacious of the performances with subtle brushing of the drums met by spare guitar and cello and spooky swirls of electronics. "Abscessed Pettifogger" has sampled and chopped up voice and electronics along with dynamic cello and bass moving in and out of phase while creating a wide palette of instrumental color. The full band engages in cut-up almost Naked City like improvisations at their harshest point, but like Zorn's group, they are off in a different ADD dimension before the dust can settle. The centerpiece of the album is the track "Shamans Never RSVP" which opens with quieter cello and guitar setting a mysterious feel while operatic sounds are barely heard circling around like a bad dream. Drums enter as the volume of the music begins to rise, exploding into an angular improvisation that lurches and claws its way forward, letting loose a ferocious drum solo toward the end. Part One of "The Greatest Bile" comes at a ferocious pace with Bettis' vocals adding an element of terror that is reflected by a scalding guitar solo and taut bass section. Part Two retains the funhouse feel, with garbled vocal sounds, and torrential band playing. Menacing and propulsive, there's little in contemporary music that sounds like this group. Their antecedents likely lie in the world of heavy metal or experimental noise, but this shouldn't discourage the open eared from checking out this unusual album. Die Trommel Fatale -

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