Friday, August 29, 2008
Hell & Bunny w/ Greg Kelley - Burn It Down For The Nails (Brokenresearch CD-R)
As I sit here writing this, there is some heavy construction work going on outside, which got me thinking... if there's a more apt title for a Brokenresearch album then... well there isn't. Ben Hall's usual brand of abstract deconstruction is again at work on Burn It Down For The Nails, a trio album enlisting the help of frequent compatriot Hans (Bunny) Buetow and Nmperign trumpet extraordinaire Greg Kelley, who proves to be the perfect choice for this sparse environment.
Whereas Graveyards has the noise background of John Olson as a constant presence, this trio opts for a more traditionally jazz oriented sound, though calling this jazz is more than a stretch. Kelley's trumpet sounds so un-trumpet like for such large portions of this that it might as well be some weird glitched out electronic toy. Breathing huge breaths of sound through the trumpet reveals these odd high tones and strange, breathy environments to fill in the muttering cello statements of Buetow or the glistening, knife-sharpening sounds of Hall's cymbals.
Track one, about ten minutes in length, is largely a scraping affair, similarly entrenched in the Graveyards slow-as-the Arctic continental drift aesthetic. Track two is where the group dynamic is really on display though, cropping this particular unit off the Melee/Graveyards/Kill Devil Hills world with a dynamism and playful downtown vibe that speaks to a looser working model than those other groups. As Kelley's trumpet starts to smatter away, Hall meets him with a precise kineticism while Buetow strengthens his pace, coming in and out with lyricism and colorful beauty.
It's Kelley's trumpet that really seems to reshape this material however. Kelley manages to make the instrument sound like, well, air through metal, but he has the chops to maintain momentum and form over the long twenty-five minutes of the second track. The fact that Hall and Buetow can not only keep up but hold their own, making this a true three-way improvisation, only speaks to the depth of their abilities. Towards the end of the track, Kelley's trumpet starts to mutter phrases that sound like the King Oliver after three too many whiskey sours, all the while Buetow's cello matching wits in a far mre angular, loft jazz manner. Hall's choice not to play only further proves the professionalism and musical capacities of these guys to do exactly as they must for the sake of the music.
Track three may be the most lively one on the disc, continuing in the spirit of the end of the previous track. Kelley's trumpet sounds like Freddie Hubbard one minute and Bill Dixon the next, switching gears on a dime as Buetow's long cello strokes and Hall's mobility give it an in-the-moment reactivity that really should be heard by noise-heads and jazzers alike. Another winner from Brokenresearch, and of course, another beautiful package. Limited to 100.