“Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.” This should be the disclaimer on the cover of Species Being’s latest release, orgone therapy. I’ll admit when I read in the liner notes the statement “The music on this CD was entirely improvised and recorded directly to two track with no overdubs,” I was skeptical. I’ve never been a huge fan of improvs, especially from bands I’ve never heard of before. However, much to my surprise these guys not only pull it off, but have released one of the more interesting collections of music I’ve heard in quite some time – composed OR improvised. These dudes have got the goods, and they use ‘em all to take you on a sonic trip with orgone therapy that will leave you both relaxed and disturbed at the same time.
Species Being is a improvisational four-piece that combines both trance and jazz to come up with some incredibly spacey tunes that often set you up with some tasty “Pink Floydian” space-rock, and then knock you out with some frenzied free-form electric jazz. The perfect example of this is the 13-minute third track appropriately entitled “Track 3,” which towards the end lulls you into a false sense of relaxation and then PLOWS right over you with a crazed free-form jazz jam that will make your hair stand on end. “Track 4” is an adventurous improv that combines some evil sounding guitar grinds with spaced-out keyboards to create a truly disturbing work of art. The only track that falls a little bit short is the 17 minute “Track 5,” which doesn’t get really interesting until the last third of the song – this is by no means a BAD track, it’s just not up to par with the others on orgone therapy.
The musicianship on orgone therapy is excellent – the boys in the band may not be technical virtuosos, but they certainly can be considered “emotional” virtuosos. The bass lines laid out by Kenseth Thibideau (my spell checker just blew up) are very trance-like, and the keyboards of Jai Young Kim are exactly on target in regards to subtlety and tasteful choice of sound samples. While you won’t get a Zappa-esque solo out of guitarist Eli Good, you will get some incredibly tasty “noise riffs” – as a matter of fact, I’ve never really heard anything like it. Good will begin a sound at just the right moment - be it a sustained chord, scraping of his strings, feedback – and just let it ride, as if his guitar was surfing the waves created by his bandmates. And let me tell you about the drumming – Frank Grau is absolutely incredible in the driver’s seat throughout the entire CD. He doesn’t force himself upon the music, but instead occupies the pockets of empty space left in the improvs with incredibly choice fills that will remind you of Bill Bruford in his King Crimson days. Grau really blew me away with his drumming, and I really hope to hear more from him in the future.
As a matter of fact, I really hope to hear more from Species Being in the future. If this is what orgone therapy is capable of just improvising into a two-track recorder, then I shudder to think what they could do with some time to craft proper compositions – at least I’d like to hear them try. This is the best prog improving I’ve heard, and that includes Fripp’s much-overrated “ProjeKcts”. Just don’t forget: before listening to the spaced-out sound waves of orgone therapy - “Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void.”
Persnonel:Eli Good: Guitar; Frank Grau: Drums; Jai Young Kim: Keyboards; Kenseth Thibideau: Bass
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.