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Dave Rempis / Tashi Dorji: Gnash

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Dave Rempis / Tashi Dorji: Gnash
The correct response to Jeopardy gameshow answer Gnash is, "what is KUZU minus one"? The established trio (KUZU) of saxophonist Dave Rempis, guitarist Tashi Dorji, and drummer Tyler Damon have toured extensively and released five discs since their formation in 2018. Here, Damon stepped aside to allow Rempis and Dorji to tour as a duo in 2023 and early 2024. This session was captured at The Sugar Maple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in January 2024.

We would be remiss if we ignored the genetics and cultural implications of the duo. Rempis, a foundation of the Chicago jazz improvised music scene, is a Greek American with an interest in non-Western music. He first gained recognition with the Vandermark Five and has gone on to lead multiple groups including The Rempis Percussion Quartet, Ballister, and various duos, such as the one we have here. Dorji was born in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, not a country known for its jazz scene. He absorbed Western music, mostly rock and heavy metal via the radio. With his move to Asheville, North Carolina, he shifted his playing to free improvisation. His sound can be described as a mash-up of Derek Bailey and Sonny Sharrock.

That Bailey/Sharrock sound is evident from the opener "Forms." Dorji produces a metallic ringing sound as if his guitar is a masticating machine. Rempis picks up for the first time on record, a soprano saxophone. The horn incidentally was given to him after the passing of his friend and mentor, saxophonist Mars Williams in 2023. The two instruments mash and liquify throughout with Rempis working his horn's upper register while Dorji is twisting wires and making rabid sounds. "Orphic Hymn" has Dorji sourcing the Delta blues with Rempis as a preacher and his saxophone sermon escalates into a version of speaking in tongues. The two musicians exorcise their (welcome) demons for 20+ minutes before winding down to an exhausting finish. The even lengthier "Ask For The Impossible" opens with Rempis' simple breath through his horn calling for Dorji to counter with heavy guitar feedback, and off they go. Each musician's push here and in the finale "Zilch," is countered by a pull, then another push. The music is roisterous and challenging for both the musicians and the listener. Amen.

Track Listing

Forms; Orphic Hymn; Ask For The Impossible; Zilch.

Personnel

Dave Rempis
saxophone
Tashi Dorji
guitar, electric

Album information

Title: Gnash | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Aerophonic Records


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