156

Thurston Moore/Wally Shoup/Toshi Makihara: Hurricane Floyd

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Thurston Moore/Wally Shoup/Toshi Makihara: Hurricane Floyd The title of Hurricane Floyd, as you might imagine, has two meanings. First, it describes the meterological phenomenon ongoing during the performance (yes, hurricanes do actually make it to Boston on occasion). Second, it refers to the intensity of the free improvisation which occurred in the shelter of the church where these three musicians briefly joined forces. Now it must be said up front that not all of this performance falls into the category of 'stormy,' but the most ecstatic and enthralling moments definitely have a striking emotional edge. (The last track, for example, has plenty of quiet moments where the tension simmers without boiling over.)

At some point in its history, free improvisation embraced an important sound concept from John Cage. Improvisers gradually recognized that their instruments deserve to be liberated from their design. In the same way the prepared piano divorced itself from the standard version, this group consciously steps free from the traditional sounds of a saxophone/guitar/drums trio. Saxophonist Wally Shoup rarely plays melodic lines in the usual sense, preferring twisted, overblown arcs of sound in the Aylerian tradition. (On portions of the last track, he employs an organic bluesy tone as the foundation for the squeaks and squeals that evolve.) Guitarist Thurston Moore of course has the distortion pedal generally cranked, and he scratches and scribbles at the guitar to the point where individual tones cease to be identifiable. At peak intensity, the only discernable guitar sounds are shiny glittering bursts of square waves. (One gripe: the hum from his amp provides an unrelenting backdrop to the performance, even when he's not playing.) Drummer Toshi Makihara relies on a fairly standard reduced kit, but he too refuses to fall into any simple category of sound. From a third-person perspective, he assembles an ambivalent assortment of polyrhythms, cymbal bursts, and snare rolls which conform to the flow of the improvisation more than they define it.

The third track on the record provides a brief but welcome respite from the unbroken tension of the first half of the record. (In the original gig, this piece came first. But in the wisdom of tracking the CD, producer Jonathan LaMaster saw fit to rearrange things a bit.) On the solo track "Altar Boy," Moore ventures into uncharacteristically resonant folky textures—before travelling right back "out." Then the three-way conversation that came earlier resumes in earnest. Hurricane Floyd is hardly a record for the average jazz listener; these are, after all, hardly average players. But tension in free improvisation is sort of like hot pepper spice: once you've had a taste of it, you find it can boost your enjoyment of all sorts of other flavors. Either that or you run back to the blandness of salt and pepper.


Track Listing: 1 [Trio]; 2 [Trio]; Altar Boy, Church Basement [solo guitar]; Retribution of Sorts [Trio].

Personnel: Thurston Moore, guitar; Wally Shoup, alto saxophone; Toshi Makihara, percussion.

Title: Hurricane Floyd | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Sublingual Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana" CD/LP/Track Review Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Sabiduria/Wisdom" CD/LP/Track Review Sabiduria/Wisdom
by James Nadal
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "The Dreamer Is the Dream" CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Evolution - Seeds and Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution - Seeds and Streams
by Phil Barnes
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Recent Developments" CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Such A Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!