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Heernt ’Locked In a Basement’

Heernt ’Locked In a Basement’

 

Jan-Mikael’s EARS: review: Heernt’s ’Locked In a Basement’

Heernt ’Locked In a Basement’

Heernt ’Locked In a Basement’

Evaluation:

My initial response to this disc was uncertainty. Ostensibly jazz , based on the information contained in the promo kit and the source (Avishai Cohen’s fledgling label ‘Razdaz’), and portending free-jazz, or what can be loosely referred to as ‘skronk’ (sax-based atonality), I was ready for almost anything…

Analysis:

Hmmm…I was right…sort of…this is ‘experimental’ in the sense that putting square wheels (with the corners of each wheel staggered sequentially) on a train to see if it will run smoothly is experimental…in theory, putting sax with drums, keys and bass ought to produce music of some description, right? It does yield results, but are they necessarily musical?

Heernt (Mark Guiliana, drums; Neal Persiani, bass, Zac Colwell sax, juno-60) offer up 11 compositions that are challenging to say the least. Not atonal, nor overtly-abrasive, these tracks are difficult to categorize; principal composer Guiliana has no shortage of unique ideas, but the novelty of the ‘sounds as pastiche’ compositional style wears thin…

This album is not about chord progressions and melodies. It is about short musical statements (evidenced in the quirky song titles) that deliver scattershot bursts of sound amidst brief, repetitive melodic and rhythmic motifs.

Much of the disc feels as though the primary instrument that would have been the thematic ‘glue’ to hold it all together was missing…some harmonic continuity to tie it all together…

That said, there is much to like and admire about ‘Locked…’…the musicianship is excellent, and when the concept is strong (‘Make Me Dance, Make Me Dance’) the arrangement works well in delivering a mood or feeling…

‘Aaaahh’ does just as it’s name denotes, providing sonic respite from the aural salvo. More conventional in form and melody, ‘Aaaahh’ creates an almost funereal atmosphere resolving almost conventionally, provides a sense of forlorn closure…

‘Sea Urchin, See Urchin Run’ sounds like an out-take from a Flock of Seagulls or Human League demo that didn’t make it…this not a perjorative..the track has a great pseudo-serious vibe that cries out for a ‘tongue in cheek’ vocal…

‘Brawling on Epic Landforms’ closes the disc in a pensive manner, one of only a couple of truly ‘musical’ moments, with hints of themes revealing themselves, a genuine sense of melancholy caused by the sparse instrumentation and the arrangement of the saxes in denser harmonic patterns.

Rating: 7+/10 (the plus is for featuring the typewriter as an instrument)

Summary:

This album title accurately describes this disc. It truly sounds like what you could expect to hear from a three adept musicians, squirreled away in one or the other’s basement with their instruments, some elementary recording gear and plenty of caffeine…

Heernt need to refine their ideas and generate order out of their chaos. Cunningly executed isn’t motivation enough to listen to this disc repeatedly…

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