Rob Mazurek and Black Cube SP: Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost (Cuneiform, 2014)

December 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Rob Mazurek and Black Cube SP: Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost

Rob Mazurek and Black Cube SP: Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost

An extention of Chicago Underground composer/cornetist Rob Mazurek’s Sao Paulo Underground project, this is a revelatory session of ecstatic, noisy, distorted psychedelic spiritual jazz. The album was recorded 2 weeks after the passing of Mazurek’s mother, who told him before she died that no matter where she was in the universe, she would always hear him. So this is a truly enraptured session filled with rattling percussion, thundering drums, ecstatic voices, and crushing distortion. Opener “Oh Mother (Angels’ Wings)” rides a groove and melody that would be commonplace on plenty of Thrill Jockey post-rock albums, but then 10 minutes later it dovetails into blown-out chaotic frenzy. After about 6 minutes, this finally launches into “Return The Tides”, which blends Brazilian percussion and spicy trumpet with a heavy rhythm and violin shredding reminiscent of Zappa’s “Willie The Pimp”. This one also seems to drift off into a harsh, furious space after 10 minutes, and “Let The Rain Fall Upwards” follows, a truly strange 18-minute trip of backwards percussion and keyboards, and a few moments of almost terrified-sounding vocals. “Reverse The Lightning” does just that, shifting us back into forward drive, with a hypnotic rhythm propelled by tumbling drums and freewheeling cornet soloing. After 9 minutes, everything goes silent, but it’s not quite over. There’s some very quiet humming/chanting, which grows in numbers until it’s this ghostly fog of vocals. An unbelievably moving album.

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