The Vex Collection: s/t (Carrier Records, 2022)

February 24, 2022 at 7:46 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

The Vex Collection: s/t

The Vex Collection’s debut is a celebration of reeds and percussion, with multiple bagpipes and traditional Korean woodwind instruments meeting gongs and flailing, octopus-limbed drumming. To top it all off, there’s live electronics adding some extra sizzle. “Ira Minervae” sets the album in gear with an energy burst of percussion and droning sun rays. “Hex Cleanse” has some more stiff, scorching bagpipe drone but its jazz elements bubble under and come close to taking over. “A Rare Lightness” is a more dynamic electroacoustic piece which avoids drums and focuses on suspended notes augmented by electronic effects. It’s mesmerizing. “Bagslingers” is a collision of avant-jazz and bagpipes that demonstrates how you can wield a bag like an axe, and “Dirge” has a little more swing than its title suggests. “Fugue” is one of the more drone-heavy pieces on the album, but easily one of its most triumphant. The album’s liner notes provide details about where all the instruments originate and how they’re constructed.

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