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Orthodox: Supreme

Karl Ackermann By

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As part of a 2010 five-disc anthology, The NYFA Collection: 25 Years of New York New Music (Innova), one musician, Eric John Eigner, contributed a piece called "Music for Faucet" which consisted of the sounds from his Brooklyn bathroom faucet. By manipulating pitch and rhythm through the flow of hot and cold water, and adjusting the valves, Eigner produced a variety of sounds. It certainly has a musicality to it but is it noise or music? For many, noise is simply noise, often with only a theoretical connection to the universe of music, if it has been presented as such. However, there are a relatively small number of enthusiasts who appreciate an aesthetic noise that may put off even more adventurous listeners. For that select group, they need look no further than a trio called Orthodox and their sixth album Supreme.

Based solely on instrumentation, one might be led to think that the formation of bassist Marco Serrato, drummer Borja Díaz and Achilleas Polychronidis on saxophone, makes a fitting book cover for any variety of jazz combo. Serrato and Díaz, however, have long specialized in the sub-sub-genre of doom metal jazz, which in the analysis of Supreme, could stop with doom. Unnerving, it is. The single, thirty-six minute title track begins with Serrato plunging his bass to unseen sonic depths at a lethargic tempo. Sounding as if it is electronically altered, the bass generates a slow-motion industrial sound that never quite abandons the piece. Díaz's presence is intermittent; he stabs out or provides flurries high-end beats that appear to alternate between guidelines and random mis-directions. Similarly, Polychronidis' late arrival is mostly skittish, upper register squawks and shrill laments that demand their own consideration in the chaotic din of despair.

The unlikely source of the music is the mythical story of Alexander the Great who—legend has it—had been transported from Macedonia to heaven (although it sounds a lot more like hell) on a winged lion/eagle creature (a gryphon) and then back again, to rule his empire. Hard to appreciate, more than a bit challenging to listen to, Supreme is nevertheless, imaginative expression that deserves a place in the continuum of creativity, when the arts—sadly—need the protection of all who appreciate diverse contributions to culture.

Track Listing: Supreme.

Personnel: Marco Serrato: bass; Borja Díaz: drums; Achilles Polychronidis: saxophone.

Title: Supreme | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Utech Records


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