3

Thiefs: Thiefs

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Thiefs: Thiefs What might seem like a grammatical gaffe in the self-titled debut of Thiefs is not an oversight. What's more striking is the music from the forward-thinking trio of Guillermo E. Brown, bassist Keith Witty, and saxophonist Christophe Panzani; a group whose combined resumes include work with Carla Bley Big Band, French hip-hop outfit Hocus Pocus, Vijay Iyer and the late David S. Ware.

The project was created by the sponsorship of a French American Jazz Exchange grant, a joint program of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. The fruit of the labor is palpable—a release that is appealing to a variety of persuasions but not easily categorized. The seminally-minded artists and producers create an electro-acoustic atmosphere of stimulating themes that encompasses everything from sweaty drum-n-bass grooves in the opening track to the exploration of avant-garde pop and jazz in "Olive Island."

This cauldron of processed and real sounds is seamlessly blended into wiry compositions of jazz, pop and electronica as the trio exploits the use of technological tools while displaying their instrumental chops. The vortex of "Hurricane Daze" swirls samples, loops, and varied noises into a gritty dance rhythm, whereas "Sans Titre (Huile Sur Toile)" is a rousing acoustic track with impressive work from French accordionist Vincent Peirani. The lines are at times blurred but the music always grooves.

The vocal selections, where Brown proves a talented and empathetic singer, make the set even more intriguing by artfully balancing music with unconventional lyrics and edginess in "The World Without Us" and the poignant "Daybaby" which Witty wrote on the day he and his wife confirmed that a baby was on the way. "TWWU (Postlude)" evokes a trippy 1970's Funkadelic and Björk-ish vibe reminiscent of Brown's eclectic pop band/alter-ego—Pegasus Warning.

The trio's statement that "THIEFS is a grammatically incoherent jazz bastardization" is true to form and results in an enjoyable debut that is both exploratory and modernistic.

Track Listing: Doute/s; All Day; DayBaby; The Actual Neef; Olive Island; Hurricane Daze; Sans Titre (Huile Sur Toile); The World Without Us; TWWU (Postlude); Play Me At Night.

Personnel: Christophe Panzani: saxophone, electronics; Keith Witty: bass, electronics; Guillermo E Brown: drums, voice, electronics; Shoko Nagai: keyboards (5,8,9); Vincent Peirani: accordion (7).

Title: Thiefs | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Melanine Harmonique Recordings


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Ella Lives" CD/LP/Track Review Ella Lives
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Anybody's Spring" CD/LP/Track Review Anybody's Spring
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Unspoken" CD/LP/Track Review Unspoken
by Andrew Luhn
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Dream Within A Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Source" CD/LP/Track Review Source
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 25, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.