The debut disc Never Die, by the Toronto-based collective, \\living fossil//, opens with a reverberant industrial hum, a droning metallic guitar sound that announces a distinctive and compelling group aesthetic. Saxophonist Gordon Hyland is the ringleader, though that isn't not apparent from listening. He and his cohorts have created a distinctive approach of echoing saxophonesometimes two saxophones, with tenor man Mike Murley joining in on three tunesand wall-of-sound guitar approach that makes for a satisfyingly cohesive listening experience.
A identifiable distinctive sound, especially for younger jazz players/bandleaders, is elusive. \\living fossil//'s sound defies labels. So let's make one up: "Modernistic, atmospheric, guitar-drenched chamber funk." Go looking for one of the keys to the disc's success and you'll find two guitarists: Neil Whitford throughout the nine tunes, with Torrie Seager sitting in on six of these.
On the quieter, dreamier arrangements ("macrophages"), there's a sense of listening to a band playing in the foreground of an expansive and especially luminescent display of the Northern Lights; on the brasher, the deep groove interludes ("satellite," in its first minute and a half, before it slips into a reverie, that reverts again to the groove...) evoke images of a warehouse, converted to a dance club in a dark area of town, a place packed with sweating bodies moving in unison to the wall-shaking bass/drum pulse.
Never Die: An exciting debut for Gordon Hyland's \\iving fossil//.
Track Listing: macrophages; \\livingfossil//; NEVER DIE!; lorraine; satellite; baby steps; listen to the quiet voice; meta max; lessforgettable.
Personnel: Gordon Hyland: Tenor Saxophone; Mack Longpre: Drums, Mike Murley: Tenor Saxophone (4, 6, 9); Andrew Roorda: Electric Bass (1-3, 5, 7, 8), Torrie Seager: Electric Guitar (1-3, 5,7,8); Vivienne Wilder: Acoustic Bass (4, 6, 9); Neil Whitford: Electric Guitar.