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When is rock music jazz? I’m not talking jazz/rock fusion, but rocked-out jazz. In the case of the latest music experimentations by the band know as HiM, calling their music jazz would be like labeling Wynton Marsalis avant-garde. Founder and multi-instrumentalist Doug Scharin and his brainchild have been through more style changes than Elton John’s wardrobe. HiM has dabbled in dub, afro-funk, electronics, rock, post-rock, electric-Miles and post-electric-Miles music. Their previous recording, Our Point Of Departure (Perishable) applied Miles’ On The Corner to the 21st century with plenty of live and studio effects. Their latest New Features was developed around Scharin’s full-time touring band and two years of live testing of material. A cast of three extra revolving members augments the four musicians listed. I hesitate to call this jam-band music because it feels more like the Allman Brothers meet Herbie Hancock. Effects abound, as does Carlo Cennamo’s guitar-like saxophone playing. HiM throws music at you as if they were rock stars, utilizing a two-kit rhythm section and the call for this music to be played loud.
Then again subtlety isn’t the point here. From a seventy’s rock sound, they slap a dub infected “Clouds” track, some Eastern melodies, lots of guitar effects, and plenty of thumping bass. Their horns honk. Did I mention this music was designed to be played loud? And it’s about time somebody played interesting music loud these days.
Track Listing: Magnified Features; In Transition; Out There; Clouds; Were Once; Sea Level.