Bassist and composer Chris Lightcap is one of the most exciting young musicians on the jazz scene today (his album Epicenter was my 2015 album of the year) and here he moves to bass guitar, deftly mixing jazz, rock and world music along with Curtis Hasselbring and Jonathan Goldberger on guitars and Dan Rieser on drums. The opening track, "Selector," has a fast paced forward moving groove of drums and bass with bright guitar playing giving the music an appealing sound, hinting at the motorik groove of krautrock. They improvise together mightily, getting a taut full sound, where no instrument dominates, but everyone contributes to an insatiable forward drive for this excellently polished nugget.
This is followed by "She Walked In," one of a few tracks that seems to have a subtle west African influence, one that suits the music well, allowing it to establish a drone with some keyboards from special guest John Medeski (Nels Cline also pops up from time to time to add even more guitar goodness to the proceedings) and then orbit around that fulcrum, exploring the possibilities inherent in the music as they go. "Far Away Planet" uses thick bass and keyboards to establish a sludgy foundation with jabs of higher pitched organ and guitar staking out territory. The music burrows into a deep pocket but remains exploratory, as the guitars increase in volume and texture, pushing the music farther afield, and breaking free for brief solo sections.
The music becomes very fast with powerful drumming and lightning fast guitar playing amidst waves of organ and pulsations of electric bass. The exotic influence returns on "Djali" with the guitars locked in tightly with the bass and subtle percussion weaving it all together, while smears of feedback change the consistency of the performance in subtle ways like a stone skipping across a still pond. The music remains at the same high level throughout with subtle tweaks to the formula keeping the melody at the forefront in a fresh and interesting manner. "Ace of Spades" has some Link Wray style guitar feedback to open before the bass and drums establish a beautiful through line that the guitars can use to rock out on to their hearts content.
It's a fun track that gives everyone a chance to get loose and have a good time, with the guitars weaving together and reaching for the stars like the multi-guitar bands the Miles Davis led in the mid-1970's. An interesting outlier is the cover of Neil Young's evocative ballad "Birds," where the group is really able to bite into the melody and then, set the guitar players free for short pointed improvisations.
|Brand||Royal Potato Family|
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