The experience of listening to the highly gifted quartet Mostly Other Do the Killing (MOPDtK) is like taking a ride on roller-coaster while drunk, but still trusting your life in the hands of a wild driver who often has some epileptic fits. It is fun, no doubt; a wild fun, like going to a circus. But after the surprise is over, and MOPDtK continues to surprise with every new release, it's a dizzying experience that can require rest from such a hyperactive ride.
With an already forged identity in its three previous releases, MOPDtK has perfected its recipe. Jumping back and forth between genres and styles, often in the same musical sentenceno matter what the context isand always taking risks and testing its musical envelope, its members know they can trust each other to make the necessary, constant adjustments. It feels as though bassist/leader/composer Moppa Elliott
' classic Out of the Afternoon (Impulse!, 1962), and liner notes by Leonard Featherweight, a tribute to British jazz journalist Leonard Feather. "Pen Argyl" gallops between boogaloo blues, tempting funky rhythms and fast, mindless disco patterns, introducing Shea's electronics into the dense sound. "Rough and Ready" is an encyclopedic collection of seventies fusion clichés, most notably Weather Report
's ensembles, with its members competing for solo space. "Little Hope" matches a typical Phil Collins pop song and some hard-swinging drumming à la Art Blakey, as if both being drummers is enough to make the connection. The title track is another encyclopedic demonstration of quotes; from fifties bebop to current smooth jazz; sparks of Duke Ellington
' trademark fusion with a concluding drum solo. "Round Bottom, Square Top" and "St. Mary's Proctor" sound more conventional, as they keep a relatively rational framework, with the added spice of tabla and didgeridoo sampling. The ride ends with a cover of Neal Hefty's "Cute," written for Count Basie