333

Samo Salamon: Government Cheese

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
It might be easy to imagine two entirely different reactions to guitarist Samo Salamon's latest, very fine effort Government Cheese.

The first, coming from someone who has not heard him before, might center around the angular, distortion tinged guitar, the driving near-rock rhythms and the wide variety of emotions that whiplash the listener.

The second, coming from someone who is familiar with at least his last two releases Two Hours (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006) and Kei's Secret (Splasc(H) Records, 2006) might be the whiplash from above, but now because this album sounds so different, yet again. After recovering however, the angular, edgy, and at times manic playing, can be recognized as being Salamon.

Bringing together a new set of musicians (save for bassist Mark Helias, who returns from Two Hours), Salamon presents us with another facet of his rapidly developing compositional prowess. Increasing the forces to a quintet with the wildcard choice of trombone, played by Josh Roseman, the music veers between the extremely tough ("Eat The Monster"), the extremely tender ("The Last Goodbye"), those bringing in other culture's rhythms ("It Rains When It Falls" and "How They Washed My Brain") and others that vary widely within themselves, particularly "Her Name."

Salamon goes out of his way in the liner notes to credit saxophonist David Binney's influence. Binney is making waves in increasingly wide circles, as one can hear on Miles Okazaki's Mirror, and Government Cheese bears his mark, if less overtly than in the former record. In fact, Binney's playing on the record has less of the floating ignoring of the bar line that might be called his trademark, and more of the rapid fire sinewy lines.

Drummer Gerald Cleaver takes advantage of the way Salamon writes and becomes another voice in the band rather than an adept pulse keeper. He really listens and reacts to what is happening, adding his own comments to the conversation. Much of the success of the total sound of the record is due to the way Helias and Cleaver push and pull the band.

Most of the tunes have a stretched ABA structure which is only made more noticeable by the quite different "Her Name," which is the outstanding track on the record as it morphs through a few rhythmic feels over its nine minutes.

While Kei's Secret was an extremely hot live album, Government Cheese almost matches it as a studio effort, and this band would burn live. Certainly the trio of recent projects presents varied impressions of Salamon, but through it all, his voice is recognizable. Recommended.

Track Listing: How They Washed My Brain; The Bee and the Knee; Her Name; Eat the Monster; It Rains When It Falls; The Last Goodbye; Up and Down.

Personnel: Samo Salamon: guitar; David Binney: alto saxophone; Josh Roseman: trombone; Mark Helias: bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums.

Title: Government Cheese | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Disappeared Behind the Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Dream Within A Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Day and Night" CD/LP/Track Review Day and Night
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Songs Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Of Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 8, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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