296

Clogs: Lantern

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Clogs: Lantern With each successive release, Clogs move further away from the neoclassicism of Thom's Night Out (Brassland, 2001) towards a unique blend of contemporary chamber music, indigenous folk music, trance-like minimalism and idiosyncratic song structure. But Lantern represents a number of firsts for the group.

Previous albums including Lullaby for Sue (Brassland, 2003) and Stick Music (Brassland, 2004) were largely composed by violinist/violist Padma Newsome; with the exception of two tracks, Lantern is "composed and developed by Clogs." Clogs have always been collaborative in nature, but Lantern takes that to a new level. It's difficult to know how much of the material comes from the printed page as opposed to group improvisation. "Canon" revolves around a hypnotically repetitive riff from guitarist Bryce Dessner and a tribal drum rhythm from Thomas Kozumplik, but Newsome's melodica and Rachael Elliott's bassoon feel more extemporized, although with an unerring eye towards evolving form.

Lantern represents the first time Dessner—a charter member of indie group The National—has used electric guitar with Clogs. But electric guitar is not the only texture to expands the overall complexion of the group, although it does allow for the more aggressively chaotic "The Song of the Cricket," an episodic piece that builds to an anarchistic peak before settling into a humorous coda where Elliott's bassoon and Newsome's viola play whimsical counterpoint. Lantern finds everyone expanding their sonic palettes. Newsome adds piano, melodica and mandola to the mix, Elliott doubles on melodica, and Kozumplik's percussion array expands to include steel drums—used to great effect on the polyrhythmic "2:3:5," where Dressner builds a minimalist pattern that gives Newsome space to develop his most purely textural playing of the set.

The gentle "Tides of the Washington Bridge" evolves from Newsome's introductory mandola solo to a duet with Dessner's classical guitar, a trio featuring Elliott's surprisingly delicate bassoon and, ultimately, a quartet where Kozumplik's percussion provides more color than rhythm.

Lantern features some of Clogs' most song-form material to date. The title track begins as a gentle neoclassical chamber piece, combining electric guitar, bassoon, steel drums and viola, but finds its way to a bittersweet folk space featuring Newsome's fragile voice. Clogs' unorthodox instrumentation and open-mindedness, which refuses to box the members of the group into traditional roles, has always set them apart. Elliott's bassoon is as likely to provide an upper register counterpoint to Newsome's violin as it is a percussive bottom end, allowing Kozumplik to transcend traditional rhythmic confines.

In many ways, Clogs have defined an entirely new musical space now populated by groups like Belle Orchestra, with whom Clogs recently toured. Most surprising about this new amalgamated landscape—combining the intellect of contemporary classical music with an accessible alternative rock and folk energy—is just how well-received it's been by younger audiences like those at a recent Montreal performance. Proof that not all younger listeners are driven by the behemoth-like marketing machine of the larger music industry, and that there is a new audience for intrepid music committed to creating new conventions.


Track Listing: Kapsburger; Canon; 5/4; 2:3:5; Death and the Maiden; Lantern; Tides of Washington Bridge; The Song of the Cricket; Fiddlegree; Compass; Voisins; Tides (piano).

Personnel: Bryce Dessner: guitars, ukulele; Rachael Elliott: bassoon, melodica; Thomas Kozumplik: percussion; Padma Newsome: violin, viola, voice, piano, mandola, melodica; Aaron Dessner: bass (3); Luca Tarantino: baroque guitar (1).

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Brassland | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "New Focus On Song" CD/LP/Track Review New Focus On Song
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "Father Figure" CD/LP/Track Review Father Figure
by David A. Orthmann
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Reflections Of A Voice" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections Of A Voice
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "The Way You Look Tonight" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Look Tonight
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "windS" CD/LP/Track Review windS
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!