(2018) Obnox - Templo del Sonido
The line between free jazz and psychedelic rock has always been a permeable one, with incursions coming from both sides, whether in Archie Shepp’s funk-jazz-rock landmark “Attica Blues” or Jimi Hendrix’s free-floating guitar experiments or Miles Davis’ “Jack Johnson” funk opus or the free-form firestorms of Acid Mothers Temple and Comets on Fire. Punk free jazz cross pollination is somewhat rarer, though the Ex, the Minutemen and a few of the No Wave contingent have made it work. Here Obnox’s Lamont “Bim” Thomas gives the meld of popular and outre musical styles another take, bringing on a mostly punk rooted, mostly Cleveland based contingent of musicians (Buddy Akita of Thomas’ This Moment in Black History and now Rocket from the Tombs, Chuck Cieslik from Glass Traps, Warr Guitar wizard Morgan Phelps) to further his cause. The result is fiery, absolutely committed and often revelatory, as strands of transcendental R&B, guitar scree, spoken word, squalling improvisation and smouldery blues collide, communicate and cross-breed into fantastical new hybrids.
The disc starts a little slow in the fuzzy, darkness of Leland Cain’s bass-bowing “Stagger Lee Cain,” but roars to life in the spitting feedback and fuzz overload of “America in a Blender,” Here Thomas urges “Wake up! Wake up! Wake your punk ass up,” but who can sleep, as Chuck Cieslik lets squealing blast after blast of saxophone loose into a super heated tumult of amp-frying sonics? It’s followed by the equally in-the-red “War Guitar,” named for the 12-string, bass/guitar hybrid Warr guitar designed for double tapping and beloved of King Crimson’s Trey Gunn, but here overseen by Morgan Phelps. The two tracks together are a powerful salvo, as unhingedly wild and wiggy as guitar bands can go, and more in the psychedelic rock camp than any sort of jazz, free or not.
“Names,” the cut assisted by Cleveland poet Kisha Nicole Foster, recalls the spoken word intervals from “Attica Blues” as well as the trance-y, poetic R&B or artists like Erykah Badu and Gil-Scott Heron. It’s looser and slinkier, with a keyboard and bass in a complicated relationship, and the verse floating free of the music (it’s been submerged in noise up to this point), and a lush soul chorus between stanzas of protest and violence. A guitar flicks in and out of the spaces between verses, curving in on itself like an organic form of life, but leaves space for the poetry, which is striking.
Like Shepp, Thomas mines rich and diverse musical sources, rock and punk certainly, R&B, noise, free jazz and, especially in the album’s back half, a droning, minimalist sort of blues. “Gotta Keep Fighting” follows the slow rattle of tambourine, ventures a processional march widely spaced guitar tones. Talk-sung phrases end in fluttering, vibrato-laced, near-falsetto “hmmmms,” which evoke a whole soul/gospel artform all by themselves. “Captain Blackeye” runs hotter and denser, arising out of blistered buzzing feedback, but it settles into a lithe and feverish cadence of blues. It’s a heavy groove that you can feel in your hips and back, one that menaces and pulses and undulates and distends, all before reverting to its inevitable starting point. The cut is radiant and disorienting and beautiful. The record closes with the long “Mother/Sister,” full of shimmering cymbals and a steady beacon of bass, a chilled wonder of an improvisation that, like aurora borealis, shrouds the sky in colored flames without raising the temperature at all.
Despite the volume, which is extreme in some cuts, this is a headphones album, that you won’t really make much of unless you listen carefully and without distraction. Punk or free jazz, soul or psychedelia, it all masses together in furious, noise blurred shapes, a shadow-on-the-cave-wall approximation of the forces that make all these kinds of music work.
01 - Stagger Lee Cain.flac
02 - America in a Blender.flac
03 - War Guitar.flac
04 - Names (feat. Kisha Nicole Foster & Ngina Payola).flac
05 - Broke Socialite.flac
06 - Gotta Keep Fighting.flac
07 - Maxon Novakian.flac
08 - To the Depths.flac
09 - Captain Blackeye.flac
10 - Shade On.flac
11 - Mother-Sister.flac
Genre: alternative rock, psychedelic rock
Source : CD
Format : FLAC
Format/Info : Free Lossless Audio Codec, 16-bit PCM
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : ~ 750-830 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Sampling rate : 44.1 KHz
Bit depth : 16 bits