Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wasteland Jazz Unit/Tiger Hatchery - Split [Gilgongo]/AG Davis & Jamison Williams - May 6, 1937 [Skrot Up]

Alrighty, got a trio of jazz demolition experts on today's small plate specials.
Tempe, AZ's Gilgongo label dropped a monster of a 7inch betwixt two of the finest jazzin' roughnecks around, Wasteland Jazz Unit take the A and Tiger Hatchery take the B. As usual Jon (Lorenz, saxophone) and John (Rich, clarinet) melt your face off from the get-go but the brutalism on display in "Coma Flares in a Razor's Coil" seems, well, extra-brutal. Listening to this is probably akin to a lethal factory accident during the industrial revolution. Gears ripping flesh at relentless speeds, the lurching crack of bones snapping like twigs. This is more an end times holocaust than it is a wasteland or, especially, jazz. This would rival Celine Dion as a torture instrument at Gitmo. I don't see how someone could walk out alive after 24 hours of exposure to this side. Rough, rough stuff. The mastering is insanely loud too, props.
When I don't feel like having WJU mug me in the back alley, I call up the friendlier jazz gang in town, Tiger Hatchery, on the other side and they're downright neighborly by comparison. Their track "Sour Star" is a pretty slammin' 5 minutes of free jazz. Totally dynamic and bristling with energy. The trio of Ben Billington (who also records as Quicksails) on percussion, Andrew Scott Young on upright (who dropped a stellar cassette on Catholic Tapes) and Mike Forbes on tenor sax delivers a slab of epic sweetness. Things start fairly cordially but Billington's cymbals and Forbes's horn get into a pretty heated lover's spat. How heated? One of them pulls the car over and starts just chuckin' every CD it can get it's hands on out the window, even that expensive Ornette boxed set! Young's bass has to act as the voice of reason, calming down the argument enough to provide a little stage for a percussive click-clacking solo of its own. What continues to amaze me after countless listens is the amount of territory covered in such a short amount of time. It doesn't feel rushed or scatterbrained like they're trying to cram a bunch of things in before their time runs out. "Sour Star" just naturally navigates a lot of terrain from thunderous brush-fires to rocky, open plains in about as much time as it took me to conjure such vividly clichéd nature imagery. It's the only the thing I've heard by these guys but it won me over instantly. The crew is hittin' Seattle soon, and they're even playing my neighborhood (bonus!) I am there.
This state of Florida collaboration between between madman AG Davis and madman Jamison Williams is typically madmannish. The duo is loosely similar to Wasteland Jazz Unit in that they integrate jazz and noise culture. Side A of this 45, titled May 6, 1937 by the way, in loving memory of the Hindenburg disaster, features Williams on a particularly feral alto saxophone and Davis screaming his brains out with unintelligible syllables and most likely smearing feces all over the walls of his padded cell. I really love Williams's playing on this, he has a unique style where he can deliver these slippery clusters of split second quips along with long bleats. There's an incredible energy between the two and Williams is definitely playing off of Davis's mental patient antics but, Davis's incessant vomiting can be too distracting of a calamity.
However, on the flipside Davis switches over to electronics and that's where the real sweet stuff resides. Williams takes no prisoners with his sax and Davis plays off him in all sorts of weird ways, sometimes delivering chirping electronic tones and pulses and sometimes deeper, oft-kilter loops. Occasionally he drops out completely only to return with pointed synthetic squiggles. He has no dearth of ideas when it comes to sparring with Williams's firebreathing. I really dig the sound the duo is developing on the B-side, here's to hoping there's a longer tape or LP in the works!
Both releases are still in print and Gilgongo (which is offering the WJU/Hatchery record for 5 bucks postpaid--a steal) has another 7inch by Davis and Williams currently in the works. Funny how the world works sometimes, huh? You know "interconnectivity" and shit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's funny about this pairing in the review, is that AG and Williams have a 7" that's about to come out on GILGONGO too!