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Album Review

Anthropods: Anthropods

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Anthropods: Anthropods
American drummer/composer Mark Holub—currently residing in Vienna—is the founder of the ultra-hip jazz quintet, Led Bib. Yet he presents somewhat of a U-turn on his debut as a leader, which leans more toward progressive chamber, spiced with nouveau classical overtones and spunky rock grooves, all consummated by engaging improv among the performers.

The musicians wear many hats, quickly evident on the first track, "Sea." Here, the band generates a furious chamber vibe as the jazz element creeps in and out with a stretched-out theme via bass clarinetist Susanna Gartmayer and tenor saxophonist Jakob Gniger's elongated notes, offset by scalding strings. Occasionally, the musicians generate swirling crescendos, playful mini-motifs, dips, spikes and intersecting improvisational patterns amid Holub's multilayered rock grooves and asymmetrical movements.

"Messy To Me" is launched with Irene Kepl's sweet-toned violin phrasings atop a slashing pulse and rough-hewn undertow. Indeed, the artists aim for the listeners' aural networks due to the leader's emotive comps. But they also cultivate subliminal auditory settings as if they're performing at the bottom of a canyon, bordered by desolate backdrops. And during "One Way" the band gels through contrapuntal lines, idiosyncratic unison choruses and Gnigler's whirling sax part, injected with rubato and Clemens Sainitzer's commanding lower register lines, as they also toss daggers into the proceedings for good measure.

Each piece is its own little story. In certain instances, they execute animated cartoonlike patterns, although they rough it up on "Pumpkin Patch," fashioned with the chutzpah of a heavy-duty progressive rock outfit using acoustic instruments. Simply stated, Holub's first effort as a leader is a significant musical event.

Track Listing

Sea; Forest Capers; Messy To Me; The Bells; One Way; For Charles; Lunges; Pumpkin Patch; Home.

Personnel

Mark Holub: drums; Clemens Sainitzer: cello; Irene Kepl: violin; Susanna Gartmayer: clarinet, bass; Jakob Gnigler: saxophone.

Album information

Title: Anthropods | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Discus Music

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