3

Ches Smith and These Arches: Hammered

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Drummer, composer, and bandleader Ches Smith is an artist with indisputable abilities who thrives on the fringes whether supplying tight rhythms for notable musicians such as guitarist Marc Ribot, saxophonist Darius Jones, and the indie rock band Xiu Xiu, or creating self-produced works like his solo multi-instrumental electronic project Psycho Predictions (Preposterous Bee,2012).

One of Smith's working bands is These Arches, a group of like-minded artists that provide plenty of forward thinking music in Hammered, the appropriately titled follow-up to 2010's Finally Out Of My Hands(Skirl Records). From start to finish, Smith's eight "tunes" deliver a sonic maelstrom of tonal contours and interchanging themes which are filled with intensity and chaotic movements.

Heavyweights Tony Malaby and Tim Berne express their saxophones in a variety of screeches, growls, and piercing runs on the opener "Frisner" and the title track where Smith's free-jazz/ rock attitude is in full bloom. Its "garage band" appeal is thick with a stomping backbeat, an array of cool effects from guitarist Mary Halvorson and Andrea Parkins's rustic accordion intonations.

The music is at times disconcerting and makes no qualms about its brash intent, although the quieter theme of "Limitations" allows a brief moment of respite. Turbulent winds begin to stir again in the unsettling "Learned From Jamie Stewart" which was originally penned for the band Xiu Xiu and a rave-like party ensues in the boisterous "Animal Collection" before the set closes with "This Might Be A Fade Out" highlighted by a memorable solo from Smith.

These diverse sounds collide and coalesce, blurring the music lines between improvisational and not-so-mainstream music. Smith states the origin behind these peculiar selections, "They're sort of rock reject tunes, and that gave a shape to the whole record." Like the sentiments of the 1997 rap song by the Shop Boyz, Ches Smith and These Arches "Party Like a Rock Star" with Hammered albeit in totally different ways.

Track Listing: Frisner; Wilson Phillip; Dead Battery; Hammered; Limitations; Learned From Jamie Stewart; Animal Collection; This Might Be A Fade Out.

Personnel: Ches Smith: drums, percussion; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Andrea Parkins: accordion, organ, electronics.

Title: Hammered | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Open Air" CD/LP/Track Review Open Air
by John Kelman
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Hear & Now" CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Heartscape" CD/LP/Track Review Heartscape
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: October 8, 2017
Read "Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review Horizonte
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Music Box Music" CD/LP/Track Review Music Box Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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