Sunday, August 09, 2020

Adam Caine Quartet - Transmissions (NoBusiness Records, 2020)

Guitarist Adam Caine states in the liner notes to his excellent new album that "Nothing makes a guitar sound better than another guitar." To that end he is joined by fellow guitarist Bob Lanzetti, Adam Lane on acoustic bass and Billy Mintz on drums. Caine also adds synthesizer, electric bass, percussion  to his arsenal. "Night Driver" opens the album with mysterious guitar and bass playing patiently in space, displaying thick sounding bass notes and clear toned guitar, and the drummer's spare cymbals barely audible. Shimmering cymbals usher in "Cloud Over," playing aside the bass beat electric guitar chords, coming together in a complex performance. Over the sound of bounding bass in the middle, guitar becomes more cutting and angular, improvising in an impressive way over the supportive rhythm of bass and drums. A guitar sparks and reverberates creating a unique form of messaging that is pleasing to hear, developing a lengthy solo filled with imaginative playing. Caine uses synthesizer and electric bass on "Alien Flower," adding new texture to the music, bending and shifting time and space, music has a slow syrupy feeling to it, the guitar playing alongside slow blobs of sound as the drums resolve and move slowly forward. Nick Lyons guests on alto saxophone on "Secular Expectorate," as the group evolves curious sounds on guitar and bass framed with soft cymbals creating an enigmatic theme. The saxophone joins, in filling out the theme and adding further texture to the music, while a guitar embarks on a more emotionally resonant solo, picking carefully as if through a minefield. The saxophonist plays in a lilting and graceful fashion, before everyone comes together to extrapolate on the theme and close. "The Core" is straight up jazz fusion / prog rock, with blazing guitars and hammering drums, the group cuts loose in grand style and they sound great doing it. Collective playing in this format suits them well, it's not an exercise in ego, but an integral aspect of their overall sound. The guitars are out of sight adding in some effects to alter the sound and head for Sonny Sharrock / Pete Cosey territory, and while the bass is lost a bit, the drums are clear and playing with a virile swagger as the track fades all too soon. Raw distortion and drumming go for pure abstraction on "Hell Awaits," while the bowed bass adds further depth and raw snarling electric guitar stings through all of the assembled sounds. The collective improvisation is very impressive, taking the raw ingredients of sound and molding a truly original one-time only performance requires a lot of nerve. "Heavenly Bodies" shift to softer more melodic tone for the group, with wonderful bass playing intertwined with the guitar the music developing a series of moods that are deftly played, adding a slight edge to the guitar's sounds or a dreamy delay keeps the performance in continuous refinement and development. The closer, called "The Spiral" has raw toned guitar and snappy percussion, with a guitar snaking through with a piercing sound and a ragged edge, soaring over basic and subtle bass and drums. This leads to deeply felt bowed bass performance and the conclusion of the performance. This was a very well played album with a lot of diversity between the tracks. Caine states that between the recording of this album in 2018 and the shuttering of venues in 2020 he has played at least 100 hours of live performance with Lane and Mintz (and occasionally Lanzetti.) The band has developed even further, and he hopes to have new music released soon, which should be a treat for forward thinking jazz fans. Transmissions - Bandcamp

Send comments to Tim.