Friday, March 19, 2010
Wasteland Jazz Unit - Shivering Reflections (House of Alchemy CD-R)
Just rolled back from schlepping all 85 students and 15 faculty down to Nicaragua and back, so it was a pleasure to find a couple packages in the mailbox that could accompany my frazzled reentry into the land of fully stocked supermarkets and mass media mind-numbery. Perhaps most surprising was a new batch from the long out-of-action House of Alchemy, a label whose done a swell job in the past but whose consistency has waned recently. Of course this new batch is stellar, including recent offerings from personal favorites Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides as well as this one, by the hyper-awesome Wasteland Jazz Unit.
A duo consisting of Jon Lorenz and John Rich, Wasteland's begun to earn some much deserved respect of late. With saxophones and clarinets in hand, the pair tie themselves together right quick here, blasting a hole through the underbrush on "Origin of Silence." Suppose they're suggesting it's sound with this statement, as there's not a gap in sight--just screams of reed radness shattering over one another like an egg in a lava pit. Starts to drip down before the whole thing hardens up and turns into chalk. Super stunning.
"Snow Burnt Air" follows in the same vein, upping the clatter if anything. Probably the best thing about these guys is their ability to still sound like they're playing the shit out of their material through the haze, and here you catch these glimmers of repeated phases, as if Ayler put that thing down, flipped it, and reversed it till it turned in on itself and imploded. Shattered sax everywhere son, watch your toesies. And while everyone's been getting on the horn/electronics wagon of late (and really, how could you resist?), these guys are picking up their horns so they can throw em right back down. Waves on waves of sound that sound less smashed than slathered together into gooey fuzz substance that's totally debilitatingly cruddily ecstatically lovely. Same goes for "Humming Creek," whose pastoral pen name is merely a front for lurched beserker motives. A jazz unit in the truest sense, total insider improv language developed from the organs to the skin for your listening pleasure. Beautiful stuff, and a welcome howdie-do from ol' House of Alchemy. Good to be home.