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Slobber Pup: Pole Axe

C. Michael Bailey By

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There is a certain liquidity found in the stables of RareNoise Records keyboardist Jamie Saft is both everywhere and nowhere, a part of Berserk!, Metallic Taste of Blood, Plymouth, and Saft Swallow, & Previte. But perhaps Saft's most interesting project this that of Slobber Pup: a post-apocalyptic tenor + jazz organ trio, shot full of morphine and uranium, giving off neutron vibes laying waste to all in earshot. When the psalmist wrote of "joyful noise" he or she most certainly had Slobber Pup in mind. The band's inaugural recording, Black Aces (RareNoise, 2013) met with positive reviews. Not satisfied with the crime scene that recording left, Saft and company have returned with Pole Axe, an aural metaphor for what the listener may expect.

Pole Axe is comprised of a scant three pieces. The opening "Pole of Combustible Memory" is a dense half-hour of electric paroxysm introduced by drummer Balazs Pandi, guitarist Joe Morris and saxophonist Matts Gustafsson, in quick succession. Gustafsson picks ups where Archie Shepp left off at New Thing at Newport (Impulse!, 1965) and where Pharaoh Sanders picked up on Karma (Impulse!, 1969), committing chordal genocide at light speed. Morris gets extended solo space to probe with the speed of Shawn Lane and the aural lovechild of James Blood Ulmer and Link Ray. Saft quiets things down to a slow simmer summoning Jon Lord from "Lazy" (Made in Japan (Warner Bros., 1972)) and Garth Hudson's "Genetic Method." Anti-peace is restored at 18 minutes as the band begins its descent into the spasmodic coda of the Cthulhu Mythos.

"Bring Me My Desire and Arrows to Shoot" begins as introspectively as this band is capable, but an immediate anxiety permeates the sonic landscape. Dripping-water motifs punctuated with low reeds growls provides a foreboding backdrop for the cataclysm sure to be around the corner. "Ambient music for the schizophrenic," "Bring Me My Desire and Arrows to Shoot" illustrates, in music the dangers of recreational drug use among amateurs. Things ramp up at 9:00 with an anguished tenor cry, reaching a death crescendo before falling into a Placydil-induced narcosis.

The "straightest" of the three pieces, "Incendiary Axe" recalls the marathon saxophone-drum duets of John Coltrane and Elvin Jones. Critical mass is achieved on this brief, 4-minute piece illustrating that Slobber Pup can command all elements of jazz, rock, and blues since the big band. There is something very appealing about this anarchy of noise that makes this "music" vital. It exists as a wakeup call for all who have been hypnotized into an artificial slumber of safety and contentment, and all the while the wolves are barking to get in...

Track Listing: Pole of Combustible Memory; Bring Me My Desire and Arrows to Shoot; Incendiary Axe.

Personnel: Joe Morris: guitars; Jamie Saft: organ, keyboards; mats Gustafsson: saxophone; Balazs Pandi: drums.

Title: Pole Axe | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: RareNoiseRecords

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