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100nka and Herb Robertson: Superdesert

Jerry D'Souza By

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How much shit can one take? Well that depends. If it is being served by the quirky Polish trio 100nka—featuring guitarist Tomek Leś, bassist Adam Stodolski and percussionist Przemek Borowiecki—there may not be quite enough. Their music is rather undefinable, jumping and sneaking as it does into odd nooks and crannies. Much of it comes from being inquisitive; some of it has to do with the men who influenced them, including John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Drew Gress, Ellery Eskelin, William Parker and DJ Logic.

100nka has the perfect cohort in trumpeter Herb Robertson, who melds seamlessly into their manipulations. It is a different kettle of fish for him; long an inspired presence on the avant-garde map, with his marvelously tangential trumpet playing, Robertson tucks himself largely into the overall ambit of the trio.

The CD was recorded live, and gets off with the improvised "Elephant Shit." Sawed bass, tortured trumpet notes, lines scraped across the guitar, and vocals that scuttle to bring in an air of theater, waft across the imagination. The group moves from one track to the other, bridging them with logical cohesion. New sound patterns emerge and link with what has gone before.

"Donkey Shit" changes the mood. Robertson leaps into a fiery outburst, shards of tempest flying from his trumpet. Stodolski zaps a hard bop rhythm as Borowiecki lets the beat roll on the toms to transform the atmosphere.

"Moose Shit" is one of the strongest and most complete tracks, with all four making a distinct impression. The initial spell is cast by drums and guitar, conversing while changing shape and texture. The pith gets more pronounced when Robertson comes in and gradually targets the stratosphere. Volatility churns, and as the rhythm section rumbles in anticipation, Leśś gets into jazz-rock mode; an articulate messenger of the form, with a host of potent phrases and a blitz of feedback.

A whole load of shit is more than a Superdesert. It is a hearty meal. The real dessert is the exceptional cover art.

Track Listing: Elephant Shit; Horse Shit; Cat Shit; Donkey Shit; Snake Shit; Moose Shit; Rabbit Shit; Parrot Shit; Dog Shit; Cow Shit; Hamster Shit; Camel Shit; Bull Shit.

Personnel: Herb Robertson: trumpet, mutes, megaphone, voice; Tomek Leś: guitar; Adam Stodolski: double bass; Przemek Borowiecki: drums, bells, paper.

Title: Superdesert | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Not Two Records

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