Monday, September 24, 2018

Congs for Brums – A Complete and Tonal Disaster (Preposterous Bee Music, 2018)

This is a project of percussionist and electronic musician Ches Smith, well known as one of the most interesting drummers and musical concept artists on the jazz scene, sideman of choice to many improvised music luminaries and a well regarded leader in his own right. A Complete and Tonal Disaster is the fourth album for Smith in this configuration, ostensibly solo, but with considerable overdubbing as he plays drums, percussion, vibraphone and a wide range of synthesizers and electronic instruments. The music is daring and quite interesting, although traditional jazz fans may may be put off by the unrepentant use of electronics. The music moves between short snippets of ideas lasting a minute or two to longer electro acoustic constructions that will use the ringing sustain of the vibraphone and place that against powerfully rhythmic percussion playing in free or groove based sensibilities and then using the electronics to create pieces that evolve episodically and thematically over time. The longer pieces are able to able to breathe and grow creating a varied sense when compared against the deliberately claustrophobic shorter pieces. But overall this album works quite well, the experimental nature of the music is exciting and it it also tempered by thoughtfully melodic performances. Congs for Brums - a Complete and Tonal Disaster - Bandcamp.

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