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Didgeridoo: Rumble in the Bronx (2004)

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Didgeridoo: Rumble in the Bronx No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

It's ironic that Anthony Schwartz would be subject to his son's humiliating criticism while recording this record in his basement studio. Perhaps he should have locked out the family pet as well, because the shouted "Didgeridoo-doo!" was a bad start for what otherwise would become a landmark record.

The secret behind Rumble in the Bronx is the way the tube-like native Australian instrument known as the didgeridoo sounds when multiplied by five. The low, gutteral rumbles of Schwartz's multitracked quintet have a way of synergizing to yield a truly massive behemoth. The other thing that sets the record aside is the way the artist has managed to elicit near-perfect tonal accuracy from an typically sloppy medium.

Which means that four-part harmonies, for example, are not out of reach—and thus the Christian church hymns here reveal new nuances when taken down into the basement. Crossing the border into the African-American spiritual tradition, Schwartz plies his wares on "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," nearly breaking into tears at the tune's melancholy conclusion. He says in the liner notes that this tune was recorded shortly after the family terrier, Rex, climbed up and dropped a steaming load on the mixing console. (Apparently the results of such a disaster are not permanent if caught in time.)

"Take the 'A' Train" follows three tunes later, centered around 55 Hz but still retaining the heavy swing that characterized the piece on Schwartz's last record, Take It Home. The artist also wanted to include some contemporary material, especially in light of inspiring developments around his home in the Bronx, so "Sub-Zero Remix" and "Get On The Floor" (both originally by Quad Force) seem entirely appropriate in this context.

It takes a bit of time to adjust to the exotic instrumentation on this record—though Schwartz claims that only the didgeridoo was used throughout—but once you've done that, these seven tunes have a way of resonating your chest and bumping a neo-futuristic grind.

Visit Didgeridoo on the web.

Track Listing: The Girl From Ipanema; Autumn Leaves; Rise Up, O Men of God; Sub-Zero Remix; Get On The Floor; Take The 'A' Train; Bad To The Bone.

Personnel: Anthony Schwartz: didgeridoo.

Style: Fringes of Jazz

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