Jon Rose / Chris Abrahams / Clayton Thomas: Artery (2006)
Australian violinist and forward-minded improviser Jon Rose is the primary voice on this cleverly devised gala featuring his bandmates' oddball instrumentation, like the use by keyboardist Chris Abrahams (of the minimalist jazz-rock unit the Necks) of a harpsichord, forte piano and "positive organ to round out his partners' odd implementations.
This music is energetic, bizarre and exhilarating, though finesse might not be the right term here. It's more about frenetic in-your-face improvisation, catapulted by Rose's energized staccato lines and unusual effects-based treatments, and the other artists' penchant for soaring to lofty zeniths. Think of circular passages, fractured themes and veering dialogues coagulating into microtonal dissertations and rambunctious group-based interplay.
On "The Elastic Lamina, Abrahams' frenzied harpsichord progressions counterbalance the other musicians' bullying intensity; a medieval muse attains equal ground with shrieking lines and aggressive statements. They institute descending, spirally moving passages on "The Feeding Lumbar, and generally render a mindset akin to mad scientists at work or play.
Listeners who are already familiar with Rose's work should find a great deal of interest here, as the overall theme is based upon medical terms. But a note of caution: this album is not for the faint of heart. However, if you're simply yearning for some delectably off-kilter, insightful and periodically spellbinding music, then this disc may fit the bill.
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Track Listing: The Superior Mesenteric; The Great Gonadal; The Elastic Lamina; The Ascending Aorta; The Feeding Lumbar; The Upper Suprarenal.
Personnel: Chris Abrahams: harpsichord (3), positive organ (4), forte piano, tuned in kernberger 3 (1,2,5,6); Jon Rose: vatilliotis violin, tenor violin; Clayton Thomas: contrabass & objects; Clare Cooper: prepared concert harp (4).