Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gorilla Mask - Brain Drain (Clean Feed, 2019)

Gorilla Mask is Peter Van Huffel on alto and baritone saxophones plus effects, Roland Fidezius on electric bass and effects and Rudi Fischerlehner on drums and percussion. They are a seriously talented modern jazz band who still remembers how to have fun and make enjoyable and provocative music, unafraid to meld their jazz with a generous helping of punk and metal. "Rampage" opens the album, with some predatory bass and drum action, leading to clusters of ripe saxophone notes, with the group developing a tight groove. The bass takes on different textures and colors with distortion interacting with splashy cymbals and raw horn, as they dig deep and push hard in a riveting fashion. The title track "Brian Drain" has a deep and subterranean bass sound with urgent saxophone, as they build a fantasia of sound with the saxophone echoing over the bass and drums, which plow ahead relentlessly. The bass and drums section is very fast and complex with rhythmic surprises and deep interplay, and the elasticity of the performance is very impressive. "Forgive Me, Mother" features fast bass and drums locked in, with the horn arriving and the trio carving a deep pocket. They construct a fast paced collective improvisation, they flip the script into an abstract mid-action, making the remainder of the music raw and immediate. Van Huffel lays down some funky deep baritone saxophone on "Caught in a Helicopter Blade" aligned with heavy, aggressive drumming to creative a forceful and propulsive groove, especially when the bass kicks into gear. The music grinds appealingly as the players stretch out with a tightly knotted bass and drums feature in the middle. Shrieking accents frame the saxophone as the band crushes it moving hard to the finish line. "AVALANCHE!!!" is a fast and intricate trio improvisation with the musicians working closely together to unlock this complex music. The sound has a free-bop feeling and clearly displays the level of technique the musicians have on their instruments. The fast grinding groove returns for "Barracuda" with a withering pneumatic theme building speed and potency through repetition and gradual change. They break out fast and loose with a collective improvisation that is quite compelling with the scalding saxophone meeting locomoting bass and drums. Finally, "HOSER" is a fun and fast paced track where the band sets a fast paced choppy theme and then gradually stretches out from there with great muscular drumming and riff heavy bass and saxophone, ending this excellent album on a fine note. Brain Drain -

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