Sunday, June 03, 2018

Chris Pitsiokos CP Unit - Silver Bullet In The Autumn Of Your Years (Clean Feed, 2018)

This is an excellent and exciting album featuring Chris Pitsiokos on alto saxophone, sampler and synthesizer, Connor Baker or Jason Nazary on drums, Henry Fraser or Tim Dahl on electric bass and Sam Lisabeth on electric guitar. Changes in personnel on different tracks is handled seamlessly, and the music makes the utmost use of everyone's talents. "Dali Lama's Got that PMA" is a very fast and exciting collective improvisation, free and furious as the instruments circle around and engage with one another, creating a complex but very fun performance, a slice of madcap chaos made enjoyable. A funky beat pervades "Once Upon a Time Called Now" with some squiggly electronics and electric guitar meeting thick bass and drums. The music sounds exciting and fresh, electronic improvisation made new, with the saxophone entering and barreling through with a rough and ready statement all its own. They all come together with furious full band sections and then breakout areas for individual solos and textures, leading up to a blistering conclusion. "Orelius" has a choppy opening statement, and then the music opens up in a complex open improvised section, with electronics streaking across the musical sky, and bellows of saxophone and gnarly drumming. The music cracks open for a spacey section, developing an air of mystery, then long tones of guitar and saxophone reach forth increasing the volume dramatically, leading to a powerful free jazz improvisation before returning to the original choppy theme. They blast off for the unknown on "Positional Play" with withering saxophone and guitar crashing up against strong drums and bass. The pace doesn't let up as the band dives headlong into a fervent free improvisation. It's a joyous cacophony and the band is truly in their element, creating complex lines of thought that interact with one another in unexpected ways, and incorporating an excellent drum solo. The title track "Silver Bullet in the Autumn of Your Years" opens with electric guitar feeding back before the rest of the band crashes the party creating a tough and no nonsense sound field, and developing a crushing free improvisation that pulverizes everything in its path with a funky bass and drums underlay and a lights out saxophone solo. The music on this track is always morphing and twisting into something new, like a force of nature. Gradually building from an opening soundscape, "The Tower" has disjointed sounds which coalesce around the saxophone, building in volume and pace to become grinding edifice that pulses forward in an alarming fashion as a thick rhythm and strong saxophone come together with excellent results. "A Knob on the Face of Man" is a jumping performance with kaleidoscopic use of musical color, built around squalls of saxophone and guitar, sounding like a particularly unhinged Ornette Coleman and Prime Time performance. The disparate threads of the album come together on the lengthy performance "Arthropod" which gains momentum to a truly powerful closing statement, resulting in an album that is compelling and exciting in equal measures. Silver Bullet in the Autumn of Your Years -

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