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Bass Tone Trap: Trapping

Glenn Astarita By

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Often hailed as a minor underground classic shortly after its 1983 release on LP, this rather zany jazz-rock outing seldom fails to entertain, even thirty years after the fact. On this effort, billed as a jazz-punk release, the British sextet's uncanny methodology is supplanted by Frank Zappa-like quirkiness, free-form jazz workouts and tuneful themes. Bassist Paul Shaft doubles as a vocalist. He spoofs rock 'n' roll with tongue-in-cheek choruses atop odd-metered backbeats, wily horn passages, and John Jasnoch's psycho wah-wah electric guitar licks.

At times optimistic and at others drenched in angst and/or torment, the band equalizes many of the harsher moments with blossoming harmonic content. On "Intruder In The Dust, the unit explores a psychedelic muse, complete with phased out guitars and budding ostinato grooves. In other spots, they poke fun at rockabilly, with avant-garde overtones and goofy tirades. Then on "Sleep Lights, the musicians touch upon the British free jazz movement, and their fractured dialogues strangely evolve into conventional swing vamps and late-'60s rock. But the overriding distinction pertains to the ensemble's ability to adopt a unified and irrefutably focused approach. In sum, these artists' oddball nooks, crannies and excitable penchant for experimentation is firmed up by their playfully maniacal outlook.


Track Listing: Sanctified; Safe in the Inner Core; Stay There; Afraid of Paper; Magnetic North; Intruder in the Dust; AAK; Complex Aesthetic; Sleep Lights; Rare & Racy; Africa Calling.

Personnel: Martin Archer: tenor & soprano saxophones, violin, organ; Derek Saw: tenor and alto saxophones, Bb and bass clarinets; John Jasnoch: electric and acoustic guitars; Neil Carver: electric guitar and little instruments; Paul Shaft: bass, vocal; Pete Infanti: drums.

Title: Trapping | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Music a la Coque


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