Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Marc Edwards / Mick Barr - The Bowels of Jupiter (Gaffer Records, 2018)

This is a riveting duet album with Marc Edwards on drums and percussion and Mick Barr on guitar, recorded at Menegroth; The Thousands Caves in 2015. Edwards is a legendary free jazz performer who has played and recorded with artists such as Cecil Taylor, Charles Gayle, and David S. Ware and Mick Barr has vast experience in the metal and avant rock spheres. "Molten Lava" is an appropriate title for the opener as Edwards and Barr waste no time, going all out with squalls of electric guitar and pummeling drums and working together in a very fast and exciting manner. The music is extremely intense, welding the complexity of free jazz with the sonic assault of post rock or metal. They are both fully engaged in this piece, they were on fire throughout. "The Asteroid Belt" opens with a concussive drum solo, with Barr gradually easing in, intertwining with the drums to create powerful music. The music is complex and intricate, inhabiting in insular space, that gradually unfolds, with pulsating rhythms around them and drums that evoke a sudden storm. "Lightning Strikes" is an all out blast furnace of scaling guitar and accelerated drumming, combining to become a force of nature that barrels down anything in their path. The whip cracking electric guitar and thrashing drums are a joy to behold as the music overtakes the listener and demands acquiesce. The duo plays with frenetic abandon, in a wildly excited and enthusiastic whirling dervish like maelstrom of sound, creating magic seemingly out of thin air. There is a fascinating rhythmic conception to "Deep Space, African Drums" with Edwards slowly and inexorably building the beat and circling around it while Barr frames him gentle with swirls of guitar. The percussion is hypnotic and trance inducing, with the guitar and drums coming together in a mesmerizing fashion like an ancient musical rite pulled into the 21st century. "Solar Flares" returns to the fast and hard dynamic with explosive drumming meeting fleet and scouring electric guitar for a massive and all encompassing free collective improvisation. The gale force percussion is lightning fast but always in control and in service to the music as a whole, and Barr's guitar is shredding, developing a violent commotion, which combined with the drumming equals a grand tumult. This album reminded me of the Gregg Bendian / Nels Cline drums and guitar duo Interstellar Space Revisited: The Music of John Coltrane, which combined free jazz with post rock in an exciting way. This album is just as successful with Edwards and Barr finding a deep vein of common ground and mining it very powerfully. The Bowels of Jupiter - Bandcamp

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