161

Last Days of May: Radiant Black Mind

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
The closest referent for this group that I can think of (and my knowledge of this kind of music is admittedly severely limited) is the Bay-area based Mermen, a group led by another underground guitar icon, Jim Thomas, which traffics in similarly loose-ended paeans to the psychedelic age. Surf overtones are largely absent here, but the two groups share an obvious affinity for psychedelic sound experimentation and both guitarists fraternize heavily with the possibilities afforded by the amplification of their instruments. “The Mezz” serves as a fitting encapsulation of their credo joining jangling guitar, hollow percussion and electronic raindrop percussion. Pogo-stick rhythms and snarling guitar ignite in a slow burn on “Apollo Cabinfire.” The collective groove is a subtle one that starts out slow, but soon gains momentum and grabs you by the seat of the pants chucking you head long into an ever-widening sonic breach. All the while Precoda stomps his effects pedal into floor churning out a barrage of wah-wah doused feedback that unfurls like a writhing mass of electrically-charged eels.

Cavernously creaking reverb inhabits “ECG 102A” for what seems like an eternity, broken by bouts of post-industrial noise and clattering string machinations. “Up From the Equator” is somewhat less opaque. Precoda indulges in a vaporous buzzing solo floating above the ghostly percussion of Ralston. A recognizable groove eventually coalesces seemingly out of thin air, but upon closer inspection with clear antecedents in the formerly abstract discourse. It’s this sleight of hand and clever kind of obfuscation that makes the group so enjoyable. When the four lock in on a discernible target the results are often exhilarating. The cryptically titled “The West” has a strange desolate feel. Across its fractured expanse Percoda’s heavily distorted lines converge with cowbell and hand percussion sounding like the musical accompaniment to some postmodern cowpoke’s journey herding his cattle across an inhospitable range. Though these players are highly accomplished in the final count this disc was largely hit and miss for me. The hits, like “Apollo Cabinfire,” were solid bullseyes, but the misses left me on the verge of skipping to the next track.

Tracks:The Mezz/ Apollo Cabinfire/ ECG 102A/ Up From the Equator/ The West.

Personnel: Karl Percoda- guitars; Thomas Howard- electric bass; James Ralston- drums & percussion; Leonard Wishart- electronics.

| Record Label: Squealer | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "I Just Want to Get Paid!" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Want to Get Paid!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 15, 2016
Read "Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Hear & Now" CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Alba" CD/LP/Track Review Alba
by John Kelman
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "As If By Magic" CD/LP/Track Review As If By Magic
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "That's What She Said..." CD/LP/Track Review That's What She Said...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 7, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!