Terrifically and unapologetically pretentious, the Moving Form's current release, Year of the Endless Moment, combines poetry recitation with world music-tinged jazz improvisation to create a musical experience that most closely resembles the offspring of a casual dalliance between Rage Against The Machine and Michael Brecker.
Channeling the urban angst of Zack de la Rocha and sounding distressingly similar to recordings of Jim Morrison's poetry recitations, vocalist Will Hasley (listed in the liner notes as The Incomparable Poet Playwright, Actor, Dancer), opens the album with its best moment, an impassioned reading of a Henry Dumas poem that Hasley skillfully twists around hornist Lamb's impressionistic squalls and the grunge-laden funk beats of the rhythm section.
The second piece, "Even the Dust," another Dumas poem, presents an equally driving excursion, with Lamb this time opting for more straightforward improvisations which unfortunately integrate slightly less fluidly with Hasley's locutions. However, once freed from Hasley's reading, drummer Andrei Strobert, bassist Tom Abbs, and Lamb develop a surprisingly moving and dynamic interaction for the remainder of this extended piece.
Unfortunately, things devolve from the peak of the first two pieces as the band applies itself to Hasley's own poetic works. Lamb's poignant playing on the album's third, slower-paced tune becomes marred by Hasley's rather indulgent lyrics and staccato effusions, while the fourth "Law," an intriguing foray into Middle Eastern themes, fails to fully recapture the lost momentum. The remainder of the album continues to struggle in a similar way, the consistently innovative music alternately driven and mired by Hasley's erratic contributions, making one wonder if in its next incarnation, the collective might want to consider a few instrumental pieces for perspective's sake.
Year of the Endless Moment may at times dance on the edge of profundity, but too often it trips over its own earnestness to maintain proper balance. However, even to those immured to this type of ostentation, Year of the Endless Moment has a lot to offer, particularly in its unabashed and skillful approach to improvisation; and taken with a grain of salt, it's eminently enjoyable.
Track Listing: Saba; Even The Dust; Nonahjayno, Nonahjayno; Law; I Know You Want To Leave; November 22, 1963; Flesh Of The Spirit
Personnel: Andrew Lamb (tenor sax, flute, conch shell, mismaar), Will Halsey: (vocals/poetry), Andrei Strobert (drums, percussion), Tom Abbs (bass, tuba)
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