How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Digital Primitives, with Chad Taylor on drums, expands the sonic landscape Assif Tsahar and Cooper-Moore carved out with drummer Hamid Drake on Lost Brother (Hopscotch, 2006) by removing a few of the typical saxophone trio tracks and replacing them with more in the way of fuzz, distortion and over-modulation. Not that this band is in need of exotic touches, since Cooper-Moore seems to have set aside his piano virtuosity and reapplied it to his own homemade instruments, including the bows (mouth and one-string diddley) and the bango (which doesn't quite sound like a banjo).
As a listener, you have to be willing to go where Cooper-Moore takes you, as Tsahar and Taylor are inclined to do. But while the trio executes the slow march of "Bones and the 1970s sitcom-theme funk of "Misanthropes with expected skill and effortlessly moves from the second-line Meters-rhythm of "Turn it Up to explore the atonality of "Money Wars, it's the unconventional tracks that make this group special.
The amplified diddley-bow and breakbeat of "Human Interface ; the static, doings and whirs that encircle Tsahar's wheezing tenor on "Electric Garden ; and the title track, with didgeridoo mumbling in the background and a distorted mouth bow crying like a saw, all allow dissonance to rise organically from the mix and embellish the established rhythms.
Best of all, however, might be "Ol' Saint Peter, where Cooper-Moore's lyrics wed the heavenly with the earthly and jaunty bango strumming, topped off by a lovely Tsahar tenor overdub, carries his megaphoned singing voice along. It whets your appetite for Cooper-Moore Plays and Sings the Standards.
Track Listing: Turn it Up; Ol' Saint Peter; Human Interface; Electric Garden; Bones; Digital Primitives; Misanthropes; True to Life; Money Wars; Refuge; Back it Up.