All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

404

Rich Johnson: Up the Turret Mil

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Trumpeter Rich Johnson might be said to be engaging with the present; in a way, that's true of so few of his contemporaries. He produces music that's steeped in the culture of sampling, and similar examples of magpie-like curiosity. At the same time, he fashions music that is as striking as anything out there. This is an achievement that might be modest, especially in these days of seemingly diminishing musical returns. But Up the Turret Mil still bodes well for the future.

On the happiest of notes, Johnson's music also scratches away at the surface of various muzaks. The joy of his subversion is that of an individual let loose in some place so purged of potential pastimes that he's faced with no other option. "The Loves of Zero" hints, in its muted trumpet lines, at Miles Davis caught in a soundscape of someone else's fashioning. The unnerving antisepticism of Chicago indie-rock band Town and Country, along with the singularity of Erik Satie's works for piano, are at the fore on "Harvester." The resulting music sounds like that of an individual who is relatively isolated from mainstream society, yet absolutely besotted with the few elements he knows of it.

Small sounds serve a purpose in Johnson's world. "Shoreline Frequency," at least in part, is the worst of a sensibility for which no sound is too trivial, even while the piece has nothing in the way of harmonic evolution. Those small sounds, on the intermittent occasions when they merge into something that passes for a motif, form the basis for what development there is. However, it's not to the extent that tropes—such as those old standbys of beginning, middle and end—have any significant role to play.

"After a Tectonic Melt Purr" is music purged of every excess, to the point at which it's astringent. Drums lend impetus, as they inevitably do, but even this is broken; some kind of concession to the world of the beat, even while that very thing is surplus to requirements. By its very nature, the beat is associated with a world for which Johnson appears to have little time, but the escapism this implies is not a cornerstone of the music.

Instead, this is the work of a sensibility absorbed by the world, but only at the point at which it breaks down; when technology becomes not so much a servant of humanity, but rather a law unto itself. Up the Turret Mil is not bounded by the physical, by dint of the fact that it's not a product of it.

Track Listing: Squinting Skyward; Star Rover; Ignite a Noise; Harvester; The Loves of Zero; Shoreline Frequency; I Trap Totem Pulp; After a Tectonic Melt Purr; Following Transparency Monodies; Up the Turret Mil; Last Town Mile.

Personnel: Rich Johnson: trumpet, laptop, guitar, electronics.

Title: Up The Turret Mil | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Loyal Label

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Up The Turret Mil

Up The Turret Mil

Loyal Label
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Telepathy CD/LP/Track Review
Telepathy
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 17, 2018
Read The Whole Thing Is Just There CD/LP/Track Review
The Whole Thing Is Just There
by John Bricker
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Haydn: Symphony No. 39, Symphony No. 87, Mozart – Sinfonia Concertante CD/LP/Track Review
Haydn: Symphony No. 39, Symphony No. 87, Mozart –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Rogue Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rogue Star
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read "Chapter 2" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter 2
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 21, 2017
Read "Before Dawn" CD/LP/Track Review Before Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "The Way of It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Bitter Almonds" CD/LP/Track Review Bitter Almonds
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Crime Zone" CD/LP/Track Review Crime Zone
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 18, 2018
Read "Just The Way We Are" CD/LP/Track Review Just The Way We Are
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 27, 2017