Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Kuzu - Hilajiasuus (Aerophonic/Astral Spirits, 2019)

Kuzu is a wonderful free jazz band consisting of Dave Rempis on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, Tashi Dorji on guitar and Tyler Damon on drums and percussion. Damon and Dori have toured widely together over the past few years forming a tight bond, and the adding powerful horn style of Rempis to the mix pushes this music to the next level. The massive thirty-minute improvisation “Fontanelles 1 and 2” begins gradually, with spare echoing strums of guitar and then the full trio comes together and begins to take flight. Long tones of strong saxophone playing and massive high pitched squeals are met with cymbal crashes and fragmented guitar chords, creating a fraught but fascinating texture. The waves of intensity will wax and wane, but never for long as scalding feedback from the guitar and pummeling drums meet torrid squalls of saxophone in a very exciting and excoriating free improvisation that surely peeled the paint from whatever building they were recording in. The music has a stark sheer quality, as if everything that was inessential has been shorn from the music leaving only the core, transmitting morse code like sounds into the void and then following up with a pummeling bursts of sharp, piercing, and biting sounds, chopped guitar and tribal percussion with jets of high velocity saxophone billowing outward at relativistic speeds, creating a collective free improvisation of otherworldly wonder. Throughout the long performance there are cells of quiet, where bells can be heard against soft horns, with spare guitar notes shooting off into the distance, these provide context for the sections of the performance that channel pure energy. Excellent percussion is built past the twenty-minute mark, a complex but exciting rhythm that pulls in the saxophone and guitar and sets up a very exciting improvisation, where everybody is really bringing it with massive clanging guitar sounds, hypersonic percussion and scalding hot saxophone playing. The movement and progression of the improvisation is relentlessly forward, played in the most uncompromising manner. The second and final track is “Gash” which keeps the energy level high, with lean shards of guitar and bellowing saxophone performing an intricate dance, as ominous rumbling percussion and bells are felt underneath. They dig into this fertile soil deeply, playing music that is gradually built to a raw and harrowing all out free jazz imposition that is thrilling to behold, with scouring saxophone, crushing drumming and scorching guitar playing all taking place simultaneously, and then cruising to an excellent finish. This was an excellent album, free jazz played at the highest level by a group of like minded musicians with no egos involved. The music flows organically, in a stream of pure sound. Hiljaisuus - Aerophonic Bandcamp

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