All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

10

Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra: Matter Anti-Matter

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
When he was under contract with Arista in the 1970s, reedman Anthony Braxton discovered that he was able to slip under the rug the release of some of his less commercially viable works, such as the mammoth For Four Orchestras (1978), by alternating them with more traditional quartet material. While electro-acoustic composer and cornetist Rob Mazurek won't be pulling the wool over anyone's eyes at the Paris-based Rogue Art imprint, he has achieved a similar outcome by coupling two opposite ends of the sonic spectrum on the double CD set Matter Anti-Matter.

For the disc likely to garner the most interest, Mazurek offers Sixty-three Moons of Jupiter, the fifth outing by his Exploding Star Orchestra featuring AACM stalwart Roscoe Mitchell as part of a 15-piece aggregation of talent from Chicago and Brazil. Recorded live in 2009 in Sao Paolo, this edition of the band forges a dense, percussion heavy sound, leavened by intersecting riffs, muttering electronics, choppy electric guitar and sporadic vocal interludes. Groove-based structures establish a good time celebratory feel, at times recalling antecedents such as Chicago-era Sun Ra.

Mazurek fashions primarily an ensemble music from which occasional solos reach escape velocity during the suite like series of continuous performances. The leader's cornet takes pride of place above an airy groove on steroids on "Europa" while an uncredited bass clarinet (probably Matt Bauder) holds forth in sinewy splendor amid a juddering tribal shuffle on "Callisto the Bear." With such an extensive horn arsenal on hand, special guest Mitchell can be hard to pick out and doesn't appear more prominent than some of the other reeds, although his angular intervals pierce the exchange which emanates from drifting atmospherics on "Almathea is Red." Although the titles are inspired by the moons of Jupiter, the lyrics by Damon Locks don't supply a matching shared theme, as they range so wide as to even include an account of boxer Muhammad Ali's clash with the titular fighter on the lilting "Himalia a Metaphor for Joe Frazier."

The second disc couldn't be more different, comprising as it does solo electronic works by Mazurek, which contain neither meter or melody. Rather each of the five cuts in the 48-minute program features slow moving ambient soundscapes. "Cryogenics After the Land of Spirals" revolves around a shimmering white noise with metallic overtones out of which washes of other textures emerge, invoking analogies such insect like hums, radio signals from another galaxy, and digital raindrops. Abrupt shifts between modes characterize several of the pieces, although "Pondering the Hidden Light" remains in the territory of a wafting organ chug decorated by what might be synthetic birdsong. "Ascension Dream Phoenix" builds up to a crescendo of white noise evoking a massive waterfall, before fading to silence. Common ground between the discs proves hard to find, but that likely misses the point in this Janus-like portrait of Mazurek's concerns.

Track Listing: 63 Moons of Jupiter Disc 1: Lo and Volcanic; Europa; Ganymede and the Ice Parade; Callisto the Bear; Himalia a Metaphor for Joe Frazier; Almathea is Red; Elara Beneath the Underground; Pasiphae Gives Birth to the Minotaur; Solo Electronic Works Disc 2: Cryogenics After the Land of Spirals; Pondering the Hidden Light; Stalking the Spectrum of Inevitable; Last Breath on the Forgotten Planet; Ascension Dream Phoenix.

Personnel: Rob Mazurek: direction, cornet (CD 1), electronics (CD 2), compositions Roscoe Mitchell: alto & soprano saxophones Nicole Mitchell: flutes & voice; Matana Roberts: alto saxophone; Matt Bauder: tenor saxophone; Steve Swell: trombone; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone & tubular bells; Kevin Drumm: electronics; Matthew Lux: bass guitar; Mauricio Takara: cavaquino & percussions; Guilherme Granado: samplers & marimba; John Herndon: drums; Mike Reed: drums; Chad Taylor: drums; Damon Locks: voice; Jeb Bishop: trombone (1).

Title: Matter Anti-Matter | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Rogue Art

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
General Articles
Read more articles
A Night Walking Through Mirrors

A Night Walking...

Cuneiform Records
2018

buy
Rome

Rome

Clean Feed Records
2017

buy
Chimeric Stoned Horn

Chimeric Stoned Horn

Astral Spirits
2017

buy
Alien Flower Sutra

Alien Flower Sutra

International Anthem Recording Company
2016

buy
Alternate Moon Cycles

Alternate Moon Cycles

International Anthem Recording Company
2015

buy
Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost

Return the Tides:...

Cuneiform Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "The Wrong Waltz" CD/LP/Track Review The Wrong Waltz
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Friendly Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Friendly Ghosts
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Hoping Against Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hoping Against Hope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Up All Night" CD/LP/Track Review Up All Night
by Doug Collette
Published: January 1, 2018