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...

240

Mungenast / Field / Bloom / Proudman: No Such Animal

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
An underground summit meeting, this Beantown collective features heavy hitters from two of Boston's most notable instrumental avant-garde/rock ensembles. At the invitation of experimental guitarist Tim Mungenast, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic saxophonist Ken Field joined Cul De Sac drummer Jon Proudman and former Cul De Sac bassist Michael Bloom for a late-night quartet jam session. The results of this off-the-cuff meeting have been documented on the enigmatically titled No Such Animal.

Cul De Sac has collaborated with both iconoclastic folk guitarist John Fahey and Damo Suzuki, former vocalist of the seminal prog-rock experimental band Can. Finding the common ground between such divergent genres affirms Cul De Sac as one of today's finest purveyors of experimental psychedelic rock. Originally a post-Mission of Burma side-project, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic has evolved to forge prog rock, classical minimalism and improvisation into a singular sound in the ensuing two decades. Both ensembles dabble in accessible improvisational music with a healthy reliance on pop song melody and rhythm.

Despite the impromptu nature of this gathering, the end result is a session that fits in equally well with either band's catalog. There is a casual looseness to the rhythm section's rapport, with a dependence on melodic bass ostinatos and rubato drumming that veers from the impressionistic coloration of "Sitar-Tha" to the open-ended funk of "Luminous/Ominous." Field tends towards long tones and textural effects, rather than brassy showboating. Mungenast generally favors a methodical, cautious approach to his fretboard explorations within this psychedelic soundscape.

Although the improvising isn't quite as virtuosic as most advanced jazz soloing, the musicians' contributions fit in seamlessly with the mostly mellow, post-psychedelic jam session vibe. The most acute example of such casualness is exemplified by "The Iron Bell," with rock minimalism pushed to its limit. Dominated by occasional plucked harmonics and gentle taps on a gong, the tune flirts with Eno-esque ambience. The inverse can be found in the closing piece, which begins as a riotous free-form jam. "Mungulator Ritual" is markedly different from the bulk of the set, with its pulverizing rhythmic attack and heavily processed guitar thrashing; the quartet eventually locks into another vamp, but much more assertively than before.

A step above most jam band forays into free improvisation, No Such Animal is an example of democratic free-form jamming that can result from spontaneous meetings like this.

Visit Tim Mungenast and Ken Field on the web.

Track Listing: Debut Sea; The Iron Bell; Luiminous/Ominous; Whistle and Boing; Sitar-Tha; Mungulator Ritual.

Personnel: Tim Mungenast: electric guitar, electric sitar, bells; Ken Field: saxophones, flute, percussion; Michael Bloom: bass; Jon Proudman: drums.

Title: No Such Animal | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Innova Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Album Reviews
We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
By Mark Corroto
April 25, 2019
Read Golem Dance Album Reviews
Golem Dance
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 25, 2019
Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019
Read Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog Album Reviews
Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog
By Mark Corroto
April 23, 2019