Chicago Underground Duo: Locus (Northern Spy, 2014)

February 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Chicago Underground Duo: Locus

Chicago Underground Duo: Locus

Latest from Rob Mazurek and Chad Taylor. Modern experimental jazz with heavy electronics and crunchy drum beats. Recorded by John McEntire and definitely has that Tortoise sound, could easily appeal to fans of electronic music and forward-thinking instrumental hip-hop (Flying Lotus et al). “Locus” has an echo-heavy beat and kind of slurpy synths. “Boss” has fast, busy drums and a kind of mystic rhythm, over which Mazurek plays the cornet. “The Human Economy” is a short interlude of some rustling metal coil type sounds and cornet. “Yaa Yaa Kole” starts with distorted mbira and shaker, then drums and cornet come in. Has sort of a miniaturized Afrobeat feel. “House of the Axe” has a mysterious spacey feel, a blippy, thwacky drumbeat doesn’t come in until 2 minutes in. This lasts until about 4 minutes, at which point the lightly flickering synths take over, and the piece ends with a gently shifting wave of humming ambience. “Borrow and Burry” starts with several layers of thrashing, scraping and bamboo flute blowing over cold minimalist synth. Towards the middle, the word “the sky” is spoken, then it all goes quiet, except for some whistling, then the scraping and synths start again. “Blink Out” starts with some manipulated cornet, which pitches up and down while it’s playing, and there’s a distorted beat and pulsating synths. This mayhem continues for almost 6 minutes, and then “Kabuki” is another fast, frenetic puzzle of distorted mbira, crashing drums and snaking synths. “Dante” ends the album with another fast, distorted rhythm and amplified cornet freakouts, but this one’s way less messy and more together than some of the previous tracks.

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