Weasel Walter: Mysteries Beneath The Planet & Invasion
Marc Edwards/Weasel Walter Group
Weasel Walter Septet
Both of these Weasel Walter albums feature similarly-equipped bands and a comparable level of attack, magnified, distended, distilled, compacted, crushed, mushroom-clouded or otherwise unnaturally manipulated to create a maximized rush of euphoria.
Walter co-leads an ongoing group with fellow drummer Marc Edwards and Mysteries Beneath The Planet is a live recording of two 2008 NYC gigs. There were different lineups for each night. The first included Tom Blancarte (bass), Peter Evans (trumpet), Darius Jones and Paul Flaherty (saxophones) while the second was bassless, but boasted a third drummer, Andrew Barker, along with saxophonists Ras Moshe and Mario Rechtern.
There are still regular attempts to deliver the old school free jazz frenzy of sustained demolition-blasting, but few can boast the sheer rumbling force of these shows. Groups, gigs and track-lengths are alternated, a short piece followed by a pair of extended 25 minute blasts, the disc concluding with another piece of comparative brevity. The Walter/Edwards barrage is divided up in the stereo field, both players filling all frequencies with their manic tattoos. The twitchy stick-work immediately provides a machine-gunning foundation for the gabbling hornmen.
On the lengthy "Luminous Predator," Rechtern's soprano sounds like a North African reed-shriek, Moshe riffing gruffly underneath on tenor. The players are in constantly blurring motion, channeling apparent chaos with supreme energy, maintained at length. During "Book Of The Dead," the other epic piece, Evans rips up above the majority frequencies, an element of manic Mariachi to his soloing trumpet levitation. The horns make a spontaneously orchestrated eruption of crazed hyena cackling. Even seasoned embracers of extremity will be flattened against the walls by this monstrous din.
The Weasel Walter Septet recorded Invasion at the famed Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, emphatically not the joint's accustomed stylistic output. It's a more refined artifact, when set beside Mysteries, but excitement still skates over its hi-fidelity surface. Here, Walter is concerned with textured arrangement, coaxing out the very varied sonic qualities of an inspired roster that includes guitarist Henry Kaiser and reedman Vinny Golia.
Attention is paid to space, as the Septet make tiny stabs of rationed activity, repeated blows to the cranium. After around 12 minutes of the opening "Nautilus Rising," activity intensifies and its atmosphere thickens. Golia rises up out of the magma, prettily warbling on soprano saxophone. The closing title cut's extreme events are delicately placed. There's an industrial wash, with chattering horns. This time, Golia streaks ebony bass clarinet hues.
Ultimately, these discs contrast an uninhibitedly brutal onslaught with a more finely-sculpted form of anarchy. These are two co-existing aspects of the Weasel Walter love of all things sonically extreme.
Tracks and Personnel
Mysteries Beneath The Planet
Tracks: A World Without Sun; Luminous Predator; Book Of The Dead; The Coral Reef.
Personnel: Weasel Walter, Marc Edwards, Andrew Barker: drums; Tom Blancarte: bass; Peter Evans: trumpet, melodica; Darius Jones, Paul Flaherty, Ras Moshe, Mario Rechtern: saxophones.
Tracks: Nautilus Rising; Flesh Strata; Cleistegamy; Invasion.
Personnel: Weasel Walter, William Winant: drums; John Lindberg, Damon Smith: bass; Henry Kaiser: guitar; Vinny Golia: reeds; Liz Albee: trumpet.