An uninterrupted flow of fierce and ecstatic noise: the end of the world begins with the blues of “I Don’t Hear Nothin ‘but the Bues Volume 3: Anatomical Snuff box”, Irabagon / Pride / Barr / Menoza
This is not a simple music album, this is an uninterrupted sonic assault of 46 minutes and 54 seconds. Try to listen to it and you will come out changed, if you have not given up in the first 5 minutes, “cataclysmic end-of-the-world guitars, saxophone and drums” defines Jon Irabagon on his Bandcamp page and he is absolutely right. Here we are really at the limits, beyond there is only white noise. It doesn’t matter if we have two guitarists. Nothing changes if the drums here are simply dominated by the other instruments. This record is pure intentional high voltage chaos. However, I would not be so hasty in judgments. If you can get through those first five minutes, this Volume 3 can give you moments of pure musical understanding and also of joy.
It won’t be easy, this cd rejects easily and fascinates slowly. It rejects because its music is as caressing as coarse-grained sandpaper, fascinates because behind the extreme sound curtain it reveals something indefinite and opaque and because it asks for questions.
Deus ex machina, behind this project entitled “Don’t Hear Nothin ‘But the Blues”, is tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon, this third installment of the series sees him joined by drummer Mike Pride, experimental metal guitarist Mick Barr and by the arrival of the aggressive Ava Mendoza, who paired with Barr, brings the sound directly into the power of their amplifiers. The two guitar players quickly take the stage. Forget any reference to any form of jazz sensibility, Barr and Mendoza are pure mirror power, facing each other, determined not to be overwhelmed, proud to release their own personality, in a call and response that resembles a long stream uninterrupted thoughts fired at photon intensity.
Irabagon and Mike Pride are engaged in two less conspicuous but no less important roles, The first directs the traffic, noting and reinforcing the inevitable microscopic dips in tension, inserting new coordinates, leading the quartet to explore new possibilities. The drummer instead takes a step back, indulges, teases, stimulates, provides a rhythmic lifesaver, a point of reference, an anchor to avoid being carried away by this rising sound tide. He is the point whom they come back when the compass fails, when coordinates are lost along a boundary line that is incessantly pushed further and further. The listener has two possibilities; run away or let himself be immersed in this white heat energy. If he chooses the second possibility, he will gradually be able to read faint traces of structure, an impalpable architecture that thrives on unwritten and non-verbal communication between the members of the quartet. Implicit exchanges of glances, subtle changes of expression and the music can turn, it can enter a loop or start in a new direction. Almost forty-seven minutes of tension, which gradually continues to build up until the final annihilation, in which everyone spends every last drop of sweat. This is not a record, it’s a real catharsis.
My compliments for the great cover and the drawings inside the record made by Agassi Karl Saballa. Four very disreputable guys, I’d think twice before playing poker with them. Mix by Jamie Saft and master by Christian Castagno.