Spinning Beats by Balto Vol. 2 in the midst of a global pandemic brings to mind a quote from Zack de la Rocha: "Fear is your only god on the radio." The Rage Against The Machine frontman is begging you to turn off your radio, but somehow you just can't turn off Balto!'s beats.
The brain-child of guitarist Jon Lundbom and Bryan Murray (Bryan And The Haggards, Big Five Chord), the spine-tingling essence of this music confirms what happens to hyper creative artists when they cannot tour and perform in a conventional sense. Yes, the pandemic forced this array of artists indoors and the result is a creation by the beat scientist Murray (aka Balto Exclamationpoint) taking samples of music from friends like Jon Irabagon and Moppa Elliott formerly of the band Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Sam Kulik (Anthony Braxton, Talibam!), Matt Kanelos (keyboards), Richard Mikel (bass), and Nick Millevoi (guitar).
But keep in mind there was a Beats by Balto! Vol. 1 (Chant Records, 2019) that was produced before we ever heard the words "'COVID-19."
The explanation certainly is madness. Then and now. Where Vol.1 recontextualized Lundbom's Big Five Chord catalog cutting and pasting (think Teo Macero meets John Oswald), this outing drills deeper with a richer more complicated and an even denser cluster of sounds. Unlike the generic "jazz remix," this is more a walking/talking Frankenstein assemblage. Millevoi and Lundbom's guitars weave patches together and Irabagon's solos are rocketed into the cauldron, as beats and anomalous samples are massaged and manipulated. It's mayhem, but the good kind of mayhem.
Battalions; Beat Like This; Big P (Interlude); Tears and Fists; Ex Machina; Cap’n Crunch
(Interlude); Truck Gun; Enter; Weak Sauce (Interlude); Hot Shit.