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The Flowdown: yo-lk

Phillip Woolever By

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The Flowdown: yo-lk
It's not easy to categorize this brief eclectic offering via Infinity Gritty, but that's more than likely a primary point of the five-man collaboration's wide-ranging experimental soundscape.

While the EP contains only a minimal amount of actual jazz elements and may not excite traditionalists, it does feature some excellent instrumentation, with a finely tuned mix of assorted chord textures. What may sound a bit scattered at first listen belies the precision of various placements, and there's plenty to appreciate in such an unusual approach to musical themes.

"Ahz" is a mash up of rhythms as if George Clinton shook the aquabooty of a Station to Station (RCA, 1976) era David Bowie, with some blazing riffs by guitarist Gavi Grodsky and well-delivered verse by lyricist/keyboard man Adam Ahuja. A mid-song segment demonstrates the band's abundance of more mainstream-type ability when they choose a more formal approach, mridangam percussion and all.

"Cole," a snippet recorded during one of the band's in-person rehearsals, is actually more of an extended segue than a song. It rolls along as it switches tracks and flows into "Halftime," where Srikala Kerel Roach adds lyrics and vocals on an excellent, dreamy piece composed and recorded in separate locations while the team was stuck in isolation due to pandemic restrictions. Fragmented layers of subdued beats and effects form a nice romantic ballad that rambles gently with an engaging narrative structure.

The instrumental "Ice Cremation" is the EP's most conventional composition. Solo blues guitar drifts into heavier territory forming a tasty tab of early Vanilla Fudge-styled toppings, while drummer Pablo Eluchans and bassist Lavondo Thomas plow into the rhythm. Guitarist Grodsky lays it on thicker and thicker while Ahuja responds with elongated keyboard shadows that trickle into the piano keys for a fine finishing transition as the song simmers back down to basics.

Ultimately, the only real concern on this imaginative recording is a limited number of fully realized selections (three) and a relatively brief running time that totals around sixteen minutes. It would be interesting to hear what the group came up with over a more lengthy duration. That's not to say there isn't enough substance here, but considering this is the band's first new release since 2016, it's easily possible to imagine how much further this creative conglomerate could go.

Track Listing

Ahz; Cole; Halftime; Ice Cremation.

Personnel

Adam Ahuja: keyboards; Pablo Eluchans: drums; Gavi Grodsky: guitar; Lavondo Thomas: bass; Srikala Kerel Roach: percussion.

Album information

Title: yo-lk | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Ropeadope

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