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Ballister: Mechanisms

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Release Levers"

The patrons for this live date must have been sitting on the edge of their seats throughout this exhilarating performance captured at a Chicago venue. With eminent proponents of the Chicago free-jazz sector wreaking havoc and Scandinavian drumming hero Paal Nilssen-Love adding his perennial doses of pop and sizzle, the trio's brazen and unrelenting attack often exceeds anticipated avant-garde paradigms. Containing three extended workouts, the band pushes the proverbial envelope to interstellar proportions.

The nineteen-minute opener, "Release Levers," is a nonstop slugfest, based on torrid undercurrents. But the trio tempers the flow prior to the bridge via microtonal dialogues and textures, then jumps into a reconstruction process while ascending back to the broad temporal plane, accelerated by reed man Dave Rempis' vociferous plaintive cries and rifling notes. Interspersed with subplots, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm handles the bass parts and electronics treatments amid his fervent staccato lines.

Besides its unbridled intensity, Ballister seems possessed by positive spirits while gelling to the live element via an emotive, fluid, and overpowering set of protocols, offering thrills-a-nanosecond.

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