119

DJ Spooky: Optometry

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
DJ Spooky: Optometry The integration of DJ culture into jazz was inevitable. But then, Jazz has always adopted popular forms of music. For instance, it took on rock in the 1960s with much debatable results. There is good fusion and bad fusion, as with all forms of jazz it comes down to creative ideas and musicianship. As jazz and hip-hop have attempted mergers in the past, the results have been either a sore thumb approach (the DJ stands out without integrating) or the jazz musicians are merely window dressing for a rapper’s stage show.

It has taken some time for both sides to get comfortable and find a common language. New Recordings by Uri Caine Bedrock 3 (Winter & Winter) and Medeski, Martin, & Wood Uninvisible (Blue Note) have featured a DJ as part of the band and not a sideshow.

Coming from a different context, Optometry is a DJ led session that merges seamlessly with jazz musicians. Perhaps an instant classic, it smashes through many genres while remaining loyal to all.

The disc opens with the beat heavy “Ibid, Desmarches, Ibid.” Bassist William Parker walks a chest pounding bass line with Joe McPhee applying high voltage saxophone juice. By the time Guillermo Brown’s drum break hits, your hooked. While this record is about a vibe, it really isn’t about beats. DJ Spooky applies just enough thumps to keep this outing fresh, preferring a live drummer to the mindless predictability of the drum machine. The guts here are the musicians; Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Guillermo Brown, and Joe McPhee doing their outward thing in the context of these street sounds.

It this jazz? Yes. Sound Collage? Certainly. The guests heard here include High Priest from the Antipop Consortium, Napoleon of Iswhat?!, and Carl Hancock Rux to provide vocals for three tracks. But certainly the outstanding feature here is the music. Guest violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain fiddles when Spooky burns a Billy Martin sample into a post Herbie Hancock buzz on the title track. Pianist Matthew Shipp, playing acoustic piano, shows he is up for this new world order, alternately playing two-handed energy lines and filling in eerie passages on the chamber pieces and soundscapes.

If this type of collaboration is the future of free jazz and DJ culture, count me in for the revolution.


Track Listing: Ibid, Desmarches, Ibid; Reactive Switching Strategies For The Control Of Uninhibited Air; Variation Cybermatique Pataphysic (Part I); Asphalt (Tome II); Optometry; Sequentia Absentia (Dialectical Triangulation I); Rosemary; Dementia Absentia (Dialectical Triangulation II); Parachutes; Absentia Absentia (Dialectical Triangulation III); Variation Cybernetique: Rhythmic Pataphysic (Part I); Periphique; It

Personnel: DJ Spooky

Title: Optometry | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "North" CD/LP/Track Review North
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Blackwater" CD/LP/Track Review Blackwater
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Of The Musical" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Musical
by Paul Naser
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Schönbrunn" CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 16, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.