Album Review

Romus, Rent/Lords of Outland – “Thee Unhip” – [Edgetone Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2012   CD, Jazz

On the flip side of growing pains, you’ve got
plain old pains growing. Rent lances them with
blazing sax, and on this release the crisp use
of electronics sets things in stark relief. But
still the dislocation of listeners seems to tickle,
taunt or torture Rent and his trumpette/partner in
music and more CJ Borosque.?? Well, I surely hope
they soldier on, this is a beautiful recording, the
dark sweetening of noise on nearly every track is
sure to stick to the earbuds of KFJC DJ’s. The
opener “If Ornette Grew Cacti” is a heart-racer
where Rent and bassist Ray Schaeffer chase drummer
Philip Everett down a hill. “Temple of Dolphy”
builds a re-bebop bridge.?? If you like electric bass,
all throaty and scrappy, that track is for you.
All other songs feature some sort of wire fritz
trickery. The most prominent an extreme being the
blizzard that is “Spaceway Transport.” Stellar unions
include “Sledge of the Hedge”, where it feels like
contact triggers are launched on drum strikes, but it
ends up with a smoldering finish over static sparks.
Rent drops his double-reed steps into the “Tropic of
Quasimodo” which finds a flavor of funk and strut while
CJ drips ripples of electronics over the top. Frequently
the noise is used in that fashion to color the space of
a track, but the closer features bursts channeled more
like a solo, and Rent responds with a beautiful sax
solo ending around 5:42, the track pushes on after that
in a kind of Sun Ra/Krautrock coda complete with an
outer space answering machine.

-Thurston Hunger

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