3

Slobber Pup: Black Aces

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Slobber Pup: Black Aces Keyboardist Jamie Saft, guitarist Joe Morris, bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Balazs Pandi bring merciless new meaning to the phrase "heavy rock quartet." Saft and Morris first met at the New England Conservatory twenty years ago; Saft and Pani are bandmates in Metallic Taste of Blood; and Saft has worked with Dunn on several projects led by John Zorn. Other bands with whom individual Pups have collaborated include Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, Mr. Bungle and The Melvins.

Black Aces was entirely improvised in the studio. "No element was predetermined," Saft explains. "I was a dedicated student of Joe Maneri's in Boston back in the day and learned from him about the concept of 'snake time.' Joe calls it 'glacial time feel.' Essentially, it's a space in which time is felt and understood by all the players but does not need to be stated overtly. Everyone is experiencing pulse but the obvious modes of marking it are subverted and the focus goes to the larger arc of the music. It's a non-detail oriented approach to improvising where form reveals itself."

"Basalt" serves this mercurial form in a neat three-minute chunk, through which Morris' guitar burns as white-hot as John McLaughlin stoking The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia, 1971). "I've always thought Joe's guitar playing was wholly original and I wanted to try to feature that in some different, more aggressive contexts," Saft says. "I thought metal, hardcore and grindcore styles as a rhythmic underpinning to micro-tonal avant blues-rock would feature Joe's guitar beautifully."

After opening with a grinding metallic sound as genuinely nasty as its title suggests, "Taint of Satan" settles down into clearly measured 4/4 heavy metal (emphasis on HEAVY) time that bassist Dunn and drummer Pandi stomp out with a violence matched by Saft's keyboard and Morris' guitar. It culminates in a sprint where each individual instrumental voice truly submerges into a swirling, howling whole that first disintegrates, and then falls to silence.

"Balazs is an avid grindcore and metal afficianado but he also improvises, and that is a rare breed—someone who can play hard and fast, play blast beats, but also have the sensitivity to react and be unpredictable; direct and/or accompany improvisations," Saft explains. "Most guys who play metal can't get out of the square auto-pilot zone, which makes Balazs the exception."

Black Aces opens with the 27-minute "Accuser," which seems to break up into three nine-minute storms. Pandi's drum tumult together with Morris' scalding guitar runs repeatedly suggest the breakdown of a Led Zeppelin electric blues, while Saft on organ serves up both counterpoint and accompaniment to Morris' screaming guitar, all climaxing and ending in a literal musical riot. As its opening track, "Accuser" will either pull you into, or chase you away from, Black Aces.

Track Listing: Accuser; Basalt; Black Aces; Suffrage; Taint of Satan.

Personnel: Jamie Saft: organ, keyboards; Joe Morris: guitars; Trevor Dunn: bass; Balazs Pandi: drums.

Title: Black Aces | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: RareNoiseRecords


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "The BBC Sessions Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review The BBC Sessions Vol. 1
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "The Journey" CD/LP/Track Review The Journey
by James Nadal
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "L.O.T.U.S." CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Polygon" CD/LP/Track Review Polygon
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by John Sharpe
Published: April 5, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.