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Album Review

Eye Contact – “War Rug ” – [Kordova Milk Bar Records]

Thurston Hunger   12/14/2006   CD, Jazz

Ever since the Eye Contact release on Utech, I’ve been telling everyone
I know with itchy ears to have ’em track down Matt Lavelle. Outstanding
player and this release showcases not just his stellar work but Ryan
Sawyer flaying the skins and Matthew Heyner driving some overload bass
(check out the title track and line it up next to your Lightning Bolt
and Flying Luttenbachers). But there are also pastoral bliss moments on
this too, like “The Forest Lord” and “The Chill and Then The Stupor.”
The latter has Heyner sketching spain on electric bass and Lavelle
musing in the shadows. Like the Utech “Embracing the Tide” release, this
allows Lavelle to bubble away on his bass clarinet in parts (the intro
to “Blackwood”) later in that pieces he pushes the upper registers
climbing around tree branches with Heyner, eventually climbing back down
for some lower blows. On some tracks Lavelle will tag team his horns,
like “Rhinecliff Hotel” trumpets to fly at the beginning, but by the
end the clarinet is rooting around. For trumpet exclusives, check out
“Back in New York” which has Lavelle sounding off like a fire siren on
parts… “An Actor on TV” allows Lavelle to bounce his trumpet/flugel
off effects, reverb dreaming over eruptions of periodic hardcore samba
breaks” “Slave Graves” is a high-voltage tribal augury ceremony, very
vital opener, but unique on this release. “Make Me Have a Baby” (weird
title) marries the electronics found on that lead-off cut with a more
typical trio over slithering bowed bass. All very good, here’s to more
aural Eye Contact and soon!!

-Thurston Hunger

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