Nubdug Ensemble: Volume One: The Machines of Zero (self-released, 2020)

July 8, 2021 at 7:49 pm | Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment

Nubdug Ensemble: Volume One: The Machines of Zero

Vacuum Tree Head co-founder Jason Berry started Nubdug Ensemble following the split of his long-running former band. This is the project’s first release, and it’s a whirlwind avant-jazz-pop romp which says all it needs to say in under 20 minutes and peaces out. Opener “Espejo” is a dazzling psych-groove gem with harpsichord-like synths, some spy film suspense, and understated vocals that guide the ship in the right direction. Then “Bronze Puppet” is screwball jazz with cartoon sound effects sploshing in the mix along with the viciously fuzzy bass, knotty horns, and slashing violin. “Pimento Boots” continues the cartoonish fun, this time with sassy, absurdist vocals from Lucy Foley. “Spicy Mango” is a brief faux-tropical detour. “Logjammin'” is surprisingly abstract and minimalist, considering its title, but “Trapelo 445” brings us back to smooth yet fun side of avant-prog, with plenty of astral synth effects as icing. “Alea Iacta Est” is a jazzy, slightly raga-tinged number that inspires open-armed, moonlit dancing. Finally, “Act II From Nancy Luna” is a sort of angular twist that verges on breaking into a full-fledged song but constantly holds back.

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  1. Thank you for listening so closely, and for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review!

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