54

WA: Cross The Center

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
WA: Cross The Center Led by prominent Seattle improvisers—drummer Gregg Keplinger and guitarist Simon Henneman—WA tenders a prime example of the regional avant-garde scene that is heavily influenced by rock and free-jazz. Spanning a few decades (give or take), Seattle's entrepreneurial spirit resides as the West Coast contingent of New York City's infamous Downtown Scene. Here, the bass-less quartet imparts a megalomaniacal viewpoint, pursuing the outside via distortion-laced guitar movements, background electronics and haunting thematic constructions. The musicians' breadth and clear-sighted focus transcends similar projects where wanton cacophony rules the roost.

The band's sound-shaping mechanisms are reinforced by Keplinger's polyrhythmic assault and asymmetrical treatments. The two guitarists (also including C.J. Stout) ring in the psychedelic age amid a few nods to Jimi Hendrix's wah-wah phrasings and chatty dialogues, toggling between human and alien encounters, with several movements within the program modeled with expansive formats, including ethereal passages built on gradual ascension.

The time-honored pop standard, "Nature Boy," will never sound the same after this version, spiked with ominous guitar treatments and a spooky recitation of the primary melody. WA spins this ballad into a stark framework that slowly rises out of the ashes, but adds to the intensity level in spots. The artists add a psycho-rock touch on "Carcassi," featuring the guitarists' drifting lines that may spark remembrances of classic '70s West Coast jam fare as they tear it up towards the finale. Indeed, a fun listen that is not derivative in scope, but points to various eras and concepts that are handled with a contemporary flair, complete with more than just a few mind-bending occurrences.

Track Listing: Funfish; Nature Boy; Liuzza’s; Adagio and Babel; Carcassi.

Personnel: Gregg Keplinger: drums; Simon Henneman: guitar; C.J. Stout: guitar; Sean Lane: bicycle and electronics.

Title: Cross The Center | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Tables & Chairs


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Shifting Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Borders
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Nine Thoughts For One Word" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Thoughts For One Word
by John Ephland
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Machine Gun: Live At The Fillmore East First Show" CD/LP/Track Review Machine Gun: Live At The Fillmore East First Show
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "The Hive" CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "A Home In Between" CD/LP/Track Review A Home In Between
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Silhouettes" CD/LP/Track Review Silhouettes
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 14, 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.