Monday, January 27, 2020

Kuzu - Lift to Drag (Medium Sound, 2019)

Kuzu is a wonderful free jazz band consisting of Tyler Damon on drums and percussion, Tashi Dorji on electric guitar and Dave Rempis on saxophones. This is their second album in three years, with the third one due out soon. The first of two tracks, "Spilled Out" has slow percussion building to absolutely fascinating balls out free improvisation with torrid saxophone, loose drumming and flinty guitar playing creating a wonderful soundscape. Huge raw peals of sound arch around the instruments and create a full collective improvisation that shakes the heavens with speed and fury. Raw and guttural saxophone playing tempered or encouraged by choppy and slashing electric guitar and ever present heavy drumming makes for a very exciting and continuously interesting recording. There is a drum solo that simmers and stirs, with flashes of guitar framing it the percussion lashes out before whinnies of saxophone add to the further emotional energy of the performance, thunderous drums and industrial clanking guitar turns to a hellbent three way burnout with overblown saxophone joining in. Slow squeaks probe the available ground on "Carried Away," gradually carving out ground, and the band soon is sounding like an angry hive of bees ready to attack. The music soon resumes it's deadly march but with Rempis achieving a sharper, steelier tone to his saxophone, one that cuts mightily through the potent drumming and jabs of guitar. A second Damon percussion feature shows him digging deep into the firmament of the sound the trio has built and unearthing undiscovered gems, laying the foundation for Rempis's saxophone adding a tart and sour sound to the proceedings. This is an excellent foil for bent and twisted guitar notes and harsh drumming that holds together a remarkable free jazz trio improvisation that tumbles downhill at high speed reveling in the danger. There's a spacier section toward the end of the performance where the individual sounds of the musicians just seem to hang in the air, transposed and juxtaposed against one another, with skittish guitar playing off long tones of saxophone while Damon makes use of his entire kit performing somersaults of drums and percussion, leading to the finale of a truly excellent album. This album's original cassette run is going to be re-released shortly, and it is available as a "name your price" digital edition through Bandcamp. Be generous, this is the real deal.

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