A lyrical and gently trippy album in which Trevor Warrenpreviously best known as leader of the world/jazz band Devabrings together free improv, groove, and rock with music from India, the Middle East, and Africa. It whispers rather than shouts, and the prominent access-all-genres presence of saxophonist Mark Lockheart and drummer Seb Rochford gives it something of the flavour of Polar Bear in that group's more reflective moments.
Warren took the title Disassembler from Eric Dexler's book on nanotechnology, Engines of Creation. But while this is intimate and mostly delicate music, it certainly isn't minimalist: there is forward movement and linear development aplenty. It is, however, meditative, an oasis of unhurried reflection amongst the noise and clutter which otherwise bombard us.
The most frequently heard soloist is Lockheart, and much of the album features him in dialogue with either Warren, Rochford, or trumpeter Loz Speyer. The template is established on the opening "Engines Of Creation," a serpentine, Indian-inspired tune which features Lockheart's quietly explorative tenoreven his multiphonic passages are sotto voceover Rochford's hypnotic toms and a delicate guitar and bass backdrop. Lockheart stays with the tenor for most of the album, switching to bass clarinet for "Strange Salute" and soprano for "Dragon's Breath."
Warren, who wrote all the tunes, concerns himself more with creating background soundscapes than taking solosthe only "real" guitar solos, cool fusions of jazz, rock, and ragacome on "It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" and the relatively upbeat "Baby" and "Nothing To Pay Until...."
Disassembler doesn't force itself on you. If you don't make a conscious effort to focus on it, it could pass you by. But there is a quiet profundity about the recording, and if you slow down, centre yourself, and cut out the world around you for a while, you'll likely find it a refreshing and restorative experience.
Engine Of Creation; Strange Salute; It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time; Loneliness; Baby; Black Queen; Pop 1; Nothing To Pay Until...; Dragon's Breath; Fast Hip.
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Chris May is a senior editor of All About Jazz. He was previously the editor of the pioneering magazine Black Music & Jazz Review, and more recently editor of the style / culture / history magazine Jocks & Nerds.