whiskey and apples

Monday, April 10, 2006

Create (!) - "A Prospect of Freedom"



I was hit with a pretty hard one-two punch recently from Long Beach's Sounds Are Active label. First came the Weird Weeds free, download-only EP "This is Not What You Want," and then I was handed a copy of the Create(!) CD "A Prospect of Freedom" from Castanets' Ray Raposa. This beautifully-packaged disc is an 8-song free-improv recording with an all-star cast of Justice Constantine (percussion), Orlando Greenhill (bass, percussion, voice), Lynn Johnston (clarinets), Raymond Raposa (electic guitar, electronics), Chris Schlarb (the producer/engineer of this recording on electric guitar and electronics), and Kris Tiner (trumpet, flugelhorn.)

What really gets you first about the recording is the non-idiomatic colors that result from unlikely instrument juxtapositions. In track one, "A Prospect of Freedom," we hear noise guitar and drum set, reed noises, and clarinet flourishes which build a frenzied texture, but then a clean, mellow electric guitar floating above it all with a calm tremolo.

On the gorgeous "Sonny Sharrock," a sexy, slow melody melts mysteriously into a racing trill and then back to the slow melody. Here the group feels more like a jazz sextet than the others, and on looking at the liner notes it turns out this was the only track not written and arranged by all six members, rather it is a Chris Schlarb composition. "Six Dreams/Divided" has a steady bassline and guitar-driven pulse which set up the didgeridoo-style saxaphones which are the most intriguing sound of this track:

Six Dreams/Divided - mp3

"In (Our) Own Backyard" and the final track, "Durindana" are more chaotic, driven to a frenzy by wild, wild percussion. Overall, "A Prospect of Freedom" is a record between worlds; it'll keep you guessing. This music would've been adored at Austin's short-lived patron of experimental jazz improv Church of the Friendly Ghost, RIP. Visit Sounds Are Active to order it and learn more.

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