Imagine the avant improv metal trio Slobber Pup, which is made up of keyboardist Jamie Saft, guitarist Joe Morris, and drummer Balazs Pandi, crafting a homemade greeting card that says, "you complete us" to give to Mats Gustafsson. As heartwarming and moving as that gesture is, the inclusion of the Swedish saxophonist on the trio's sophomore effort complements the atmospheric thrash and burn of Pole Axe.
The convergence of the players here draws from their various associations with the Japanese noise artist Merzbow. Saft recorded Merzdub (Caminante Recordings, 2005), and Pandi and Gustafsson have made several sessions with Masami Akita, the latest being Cuts Of Guilt, Cuts Deeper (RareNoise, 2015) with Thurston Moore. Although Morris hasn't recorded with Merzbow, he can drink deeply from the noisier side of improvised music, as can be heard with Saft and Mike Pride in The Spanish Donkey.
The disc opens with the the 30-minute "Pole Of Combustible Memory" which plays like the soundtrack to an old black-and-white horror film where the editors use jerky time-lapse photography to show the scientist changing from Dr. Jekyll to Mr Hyde. Spurred by Pandi's clamorous drumming, Gustafsson blows baritone saxophone notes that roar like a house fire, while Morris lays down zigzagging monster chords. As opposed to a noise fest, this lengthy piece evolves into some smoldering atmospherics that feature Saft's mad scientist organ intonations.
"Bring Me My Desire And Arrows To Shoot" opens with the seething atmospherics and cymbals that give way to drawn-out saxophone noise and squiggly guitar notes. Saft returns to his eerie organ and intensity ramps into an ominous conclusion. Where their narratives are spread across the first two lengthy pieces, the shortish (4:35) "Incendiary Axe," scorches from the get-go with the quartet's wildfire assault. Credit here to Pandi's unflagging energy-drumming that pushes back at both Morris and Gustafsson's attack and the painted canvases of Saft.
Pole of Combustible Memory; Bring Me My Desire and Arrows to Shoot;
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