Shkrang: Some Thoughts About Shkrang! (2006)
Surprises abound with each new release from this experimental British record label. Here, ace tenor saxophonist Mick Beck incorporates an amplified bassoon into an outing that defies even the most oddball stereotypes. I'd call it something like psycho free-jazz aligned with microtonal minimalism and garrulous space-rock. Guitarist Dave Tucker adds grunge-rock noise and eerie sounds from his laptop and the band engages in angst, discontent and maniacally centered chaos. But all in good fun, mind you.
Occasionally this free-form trio surfaces as a twisted heavy metal avant-garde trio, aided by Paul Hession's blitzing, asymmetrical rhythms. On "Washing, Beck's howling sax lines are framed with Tucker's wacky EFX treatments.
The trio moves about with a neurotic disposition, and all hell breaks loose during several passages. Other spots feature Beck's strange bassoon bellowing along with the drummer's off-kilter interludes, spiced up with whimsical intimations. Then on the lengthy "Opera, the trio works within a supernatural wall-of-sound, aided by Hession's slashing and crashing drum patterns. In essence, the musicians accomplish quite a bit as they morph various genres into an uncanny search and destroy mission. Not for the faint of heart, but an inspiring endeavor where multiplicity and ingenuity attain a triumphant coexistence. A top avant-garde pick for 2006.
Track Listing: Archie Shepp; Ballroom Dancing; Washing; Opera; Seething; Study in C Minor.
Personnel: Mick Beck: tenor sax, amplified bassoon, voice and calls; Dave Tucker: electric guitar, laptop; Paul Hession: drums.