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Raw Materials: Overneath

Mark Corroto By

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Let's just say I'm not buying it. The liner notes to Raw Materials by the collective Overneath claim, that except for one piece, all the music on the recording was spontaneously improvised. Can't be, the music is too uncluttered.

This quintet is a combination of longtime Northwest collaborators , Dave Leslie, Mike Curtis, and Dave Storrs, and a couple of new voices, Chris Johnedis and Hezekiah. Each musician performs with varying instruments, and all take up various percussion tools. Can spontaneous improvisation be this orderly and inviting?

Like the modus operandi of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, the music here is for the most part based on percussion, but no piece longer than 6 minutes. Each improvisation is contagious, from the opening drum circle to the traffic jam of horns delivered with "Raw Footage." My suspicion that the music is more than instantaneous is based on the accessibility of the sounds. The quintet locks into a mesmeric groove on "Relax" before keyboard and horns are seamlessly introduced. The answer is either the proverbial monkeys typing Shakespeare, or there is special communication between these musicians.

A common theme, the "Projector Booth's Suite" is woven throughout the tracks with four spoken word collages by Hezekiah. Common sayings, bits of song lyrics, and advertising are pronounced over the music with samples of Malcolm X and futuristic documentaries. The mishmash becomes puree, added to the paste these improvisations come into focus, and a compelling dinner is served

Track Listing: Low Into Hong Kong; Projector Booth’s Suite XIII; Raw Footage; Relax; Hi Ho Hi Ho; Projector Booth’s Suite XI; Thought; Revenge Of The Asian Lutherans; Projector Booth’s Suite XII; Lost Horizon; Downstream; Kool; Projector Booth’s Suite XIV; Now We Are Orphans.

Personnel: Chris Johnedis: percussion, keyboards; Hezekiah: vocals, trumpet, cello, percussion; Dave Leslie: keyboards, percussion; Mike Curtis: reeds, ethnic flutes, percussion; Dave Storrs: trombone, percussion.

Title: Overneath | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Louie Records

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