Music Reviews

Artist: Ysanne Spevack and Philip Clemo
Title: Soundzero
Format: CD
Rated: *****
This is the kind of thing that you really don’t expect to read about on ChainDLK. Now that we have that out of the way, this is really engaging stuff. Some comparisons that comes to mind is Peter Gabriel’s more ethnically tinged work, Paul Schütze (who Clermo thanks in the credits), and Dif Juz, a band on the 4AD label (back when 4AD was still good). Here is how Clermo’s site describes the album: "A second album with Spevack, soundzero, was completed in 1999 and will finally be widely available in early 2009. Phil Slater returned on trumpet, and Tarlochan (Bobby) Singh on tabla. Intriguingly, jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss was brought into the mix, his vocals processed in various ways. Everything, in fact, is processed one way or another." This is not a smooth jazz album. In fact this is exactly what I like jazz to be like – complex, fast, and loose. This is the aural equivalent to riding on a rickety roller coaster. The whole thing is swaying back and forth, and you’re probably going a bit too fast for comfort, but somehow it all holds together. Yet the album still retains a dreamlike quality that keeps the listener involved. This isn’t Sun Ra’s brand of jazz. It’s still accessible to the general public and a nice listen. Some of the standout tracks include "Surfing Dreams and Chaos" which highlights Spevack’s violin skills, and "Merkaba," which blends synth atmosphere with ethnic percussion and female vocals. The drum interludes, "Catching the First Train" and "Catching the Second Train" are also a lot of fun. The disc weighs in at about 66 minutes.

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