Rob Mazurek and Black Cube SP: Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost

Glenn Astarita By

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Cornetist and electronics ace Rob Mazurek leads several prominent bands. Yet Return The Tides projects special significance since the album by his Black Cube SP unit was recorded in Brazil two-weeks after his mother passed away. In the album notes, his earnest and spiritually composed eulogy may have provided an added boost to the ensemble' unrelenting force field.

At times, the program's shadowy audio sound may be the output of the recording studio's limitations or was intentional, because Mazurek's may have set out to create a phantasmagoric conduit between reality and the after-life. With jangling percussion, samples, electronics and fuzz-tinged soundscapes, the cornetist's muted lines are interwoven among the festivities, where crash, burn and meltdown scenarios become cyclical events.

"Return The Tides" is modeled by the cornetist's wailing notes atop a hot-tempered rock groove and a whole lot of bizarre noise-shaping exercises, culminating in an edgy spaced-out trek into a cosmic vacuum. Here and throughout, Mauricio Takara and Rogerio Martins impart a world music vibe that underscores a globalized musical panorama.

On the final piece "Reverse The Lightning," a keys driven bass line is the recurring anchor for a pummeling Latin vamp that features ominous effects, heightened by Thomas Rohrer's prismatic and whirling soprano saxophone solo. However, as matters settle down and after a period of silence, I was ready to eject the CD, but the piece transforms into a sequence of heavenly chants, iterated by Rodrigo Brandao. Perhaps here is where Mazurek seeks to elicit a transcendent dialogue with the spirit world amid soothing messages radiating from the heavens beyond. Indeed, a touching and powerful statement.

Track Listing: Oh Mother (Angel's Wings); Return the Tides; Let the Rain Fall Upwards; Reverse the Lightning.

Personnel: Rob Mazurek: cornet, electronics, voice; Mauricio Takara: drums, cavaquinho, voice; Guilherme Granado: keyboards, synths, sampler, voice; Thomas Rohrer: rabeca, electronics, soprano saxophone, voice; Rogerio Martins: percussion, voice; Rodrigo Brandão: voice.

Title: Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records

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