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Sous Rature is derived from Jacques Derrida’s word “under erasure” methodology and is the title of guitarist Kevin O’ Neil’s compelling solo effort for composer/drummer/percussionist Kevin Norton’s, “Barking Hoop” record label. Here, O’Neil exhibits blazing chops along with the extremely talented Norton and forward thinking alto saxophonists Jackson Moore and Steve Lehman.
No doubt, the guitarist possesses a fluent imagination to coincide with his interesting compositional/improvisational philosophies and overall approach, as this band goes for the mighty jugular on this predominately frenetic yet altogether fascinating extended work. O’Neil’s performances with multi-reedman/modern music pioneer Anthony Braxton must have paid off, as the artist seemingly envelopes previously applied – new music – concepts and/or theories into a framework for expansion amid a notable sense of conviction to his craft.
On this release, the guitarist assists Norton’s often maddening pulse with rapidly executed chord progressions as the duo often provides the power for Moore and Lehman who intersperse quiet moments with stunning improv, meaningful accents and a raucous wave of sound. Throughout, Norton adds tonal shade and timber via his deft utilization of cymbals and small percussion instruments; although the drummer does add to the festivities with a monstrous yet outwardly poetic solo. The band also pursues multi-layered textures as they take full advantage of space and depth while also interlacing Thelonious Monk-style cadence with spirited unison choruses. However, O’Neil can also raise the intensity level a few notches with fiery and incredibly fast single note leads; otherwise the artist shines as a shrewd composer who seemingly has quite a bit to offer. All told, Sous Rature proves that notion beyond a reasonable doubt. Highly recommended!