Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Bobby Previte, Jamie Saft, Nels Cline ‎– Music From The Early 21st Century (2020)

Style: Free Improvisation, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label:  RareNoise Records

01.   Photobomb
02.   Paywall
03.   Parkour
04.   The Extreme Present
05.   Totes
06.   Occession
07.   The New Weird
08.   Machine Learning
09.   Woke
10.   Flash Mob

Electric Guitar, Effects, Music By – Nels Cline
Producer, Drums, Music By – Bobby Previte
Producer, Electric Piano, Electric Organ, MiniMoog, Mixed By, Music By – Jamie Saft

This is not your father’s organ trio a la Jimmy Smith, Grant Green, Jack MacDuff or others. The music made by drummer Bobby Previte, keyboardist Jamie Saft, and guitarist Nels Cline takes liberties and then some, in keeping with its apt title, Music From the Early 21st Century and the record label name, RareNoise. Don’t expect the funky, soulful old school grooves. In fact, come with no expectations because this is free-flowing improvisation, recorded live with only the three instruments having anything in common with the notion of an organ trio. Suffice it to say, these three obliterate that concept and take the listener on some careening, rollicking adventures.

There’s a tongue-in-cheek approach to both the song titles and to the overall concept. Previte says, “I thought this title would put the music in a content that makes sense because it’s incontrovertible that this is music from the early 21st century. That allows the music to have no baggage except the time period in which it was made. I also thought after the fact that it would be hilarious if, a hundred years from now, someone googles – or whatever the equivalent of Google would be then -music from the early 21st century, and then this record comes up.”

Previte and Saft often collaborate and Previte has recently worked with Cline. Yet, it’s the first time all three have joined as a trio. They discovered they shared common ground while on tour in the Northeast and much of that was rock music. So, this is not your basic jazz album either; if anything it’s a jam band outing that combines jazz, rock, and electronica. Cline uses plenty of effects and Saft not only plays the Hammond B3 but Fender Rhodes and MiniMoog too. Thus, as Saft points out, there are many different genres and sonic spaces interacting even within a single tune. The music has no boundaries.

”Photobomb,” the opening track sets the stage with its monolithic dissonance and guitar feedback over Saft’s organ swells and Previte’s incessant beats. “Paywall” bridges hard rock and dub while Saft’s walking bassline and keyboard trills spur Cline to rattle off lines like Sonny Sharrock in “Parkour” as the MIniMoog modulates in the background. “The Extreme Present” is a weird mutation of ‘60s soul with prominent organ and tinkling Fender Rhodes on “Totes’ floats the listener into hazy psychedelia.  By now intent listeners will be totally lost in this music but will be further puzzled by the 14 minutes of grinding, rumbling, spiraling noise in “Occession.”

Yet, the trio continues to go even deeper as “The New Weird” offers ten minutes of hypnotic, bizarrely spiritual jazz where Saft’s organ sounds like a church organ full of reverb, perhaps played by a maniacal organist run amok with no regard for the service that’s he’s performing for but it eventually settles into some quiet moments, allowing  Cline to make some clean guitar runs as the organ swirls. “Machine Learning” begins as a guitar/drum workout before Saft enters with the MiniMoog. It sounds like an industrial scene from Bladerunner 2049. “Woke,” on the other hand, is like waking up to a gorgeous spring morning when fauna seems to bloom twice as fast. In one sense, it would have made the perfect closer, but this trio is anything but predictable, bringing us the Krautrock styled “Flash Mob” instead, that climaxes with a furious flurry of Kline notes, Saft’s heated organ, and Previte beating like there’s no tomorrow to the delight of a live audience.

This eclectic offering may turn some away, but it has elements of progressive jazz, prog rock, experimental jazz, electronica, and enough weird stuff to keep curious listeners engaged. 
 Jim Hynes / glide MAGAZINE

Jerry Paper ‎– Like A Baby (2018)

Genre: Electronic, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Stones Throw Records

01.   Your Cocoon
02.   Grey Area
03.   A Moment
04.   Something's Not Right
05.   Did I Buy It?
06.   Commercial Break
07.   My God
08.   Baby
09.   Everything Borrowed
10.   Huge Laughs
11.   You
12.   Losing The Game
13.   More Bad News

Bongos – Lucas Nathan
Drums – Evan Cartwright
Flugelhorn – Tom Moffat
Flute – Leland Whitty
Organ – Matty Tavares
Piano – Lucas Nathan, Matty Tavares
Sitar – Lucas Nathan
Vibraphone – Matty Tavares
Violin, Slide Guitar – Leland Whitty
Acoustic Guitar – Lucas Nathan, Matty Tavares
Bass – Chester Hansen, Lucas Nathan
Electric Guitar – Alex Brettin, Matty Tavares
Electric Piano – Kaan Gunesberk, Matty Tavares
Synthesizer – Kaan Gunesberk, Lucas Nathan, Matty Tavares
Vocals – Charlotte Day Wilson, Maya Laner, Natalie Mering
Written-By – Leland Whitty, Matty Tavares, Nicky Benedek
Producer, Mixed By, Written-By, Vocals – Lucas Nathan
Producer – Matty Tavares

“Dystopian shopping centre” might seem like a weird concept for an album at first, but consider this: have you ever tried to go for groceries at six o’clock on a weekday and wanted to scream? If you haven’t, try nipping into St Albans Morrisons for a pint of milk at that time. Hell on earth.

Suddenly some of the imagery on Jerry Paper’s – the alter-ego LA multi-instrumentalist Lucas Nathan – new record doesn’t seem quite so bizarre. Still strange, yeah, but it’s within the realm of understanding, which encapsulates the album at large, really. Fans of Matt Maltese, Mac DeMarco and Alex Turner’s lounge suits will probably appreciate the wonky, cocktail bar stylings of tracks like ‘Something’s Not Right’, even as Jerry Paper messes with the form.

Then there are songs like ‘Grey Area’, which are reminiscent of a sequence from The Wizard of Oz, if the film was also partially a comment on late Capitalism and desire. On ‘Like A Baby’, he filters a sometimes distressing reality through oddball synthpop, giving everything a slightly dissociative quality. That’s particularly clear on album closer ‘More Bad News’, which hazily captures the relentless horror of the 24-hour news cycle. Like the rest of the album, it’s simultaneously of this reality and not, seeming to capture an alternate universe in which we’re just as screwed as we are now but are also possibly living in space, or underwater, or in a simulation… It’s dead weird, but then so are the times we’re living in.
Liam Konemann / LOUD AND QUIET