Bablicon - In A Different City

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Misra
Catalog Number: MSR 001
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:59:00

Well, Bablicon's In A Different City is one of those releases that defies any easy categorization. Perhaps experimental, avant-garde jazz comes closest, and yet there are moments and tracks that edge closer to rock.

The disk starts out quite chaotic, spinning off into various directions as only improvised music can. The album itself is a mix between composed and improvised.

Bablicon are a trio of The Diminisher on sax, clarinet, keys, theremin and voice, Blue Hawaii on bass, guitar and other instruments, and Marta Tennae on drums, banjo, organ, and an assortment of other instruments. The tracks for this album were recorded in a abandoned machine shop in Chicago. Given the less than ideal recording situation, the tone is amazing clear, and yet has that raw live feel about it.

"Chunks of syrup amidst plain yoghurt" has a very strange sound - imagine Caribbean surf music. The guitar is the main instrument here, playing a relatively simple repetitive rhythm, while bass booms away in the background. The bottom end of the percussion is barely audible, but if one listens, one can here the gentle snip, snip of the high-hat. A bit of classical, then marching band finished off the track in a humorous way.

Perhaps because of the vibraphone, "At The Birthday Party" made me think of Hermetic Science, and in particular, of their version of Rush's "Jacob's Ladder".

Because of the frequent squeaks and high tones, this isn't album you necessarily can relax to. "Pictor's Metamorphoses" comes closest, and sounds not unlike a 50's horror film's soundtrack. You can almost see the black and white images ... maybe Bela Lugosi. Violins are out front on this piece, especially towards the end.

This is a bit more challenging than neo-prog, that's for sure. It's not something you can suss out in one listening, or even two. It grows on you slowly. Which, I suppose means that, unless you listen to this very out music as habit, the odd contrasts between instruments and voices will take some getting used to.

Of course, then there's "2 Birds (1 Wing)" which is out and out rock, with jazz sax for seasoning, and a punk/metal attitude. Marta Tennae truly abuses his drums, giving them a more than a thorough workout.

All of which makes it more intriguing. If you are a fan of neo-prog and care for little else, this will try your patience, as there are no easy rhythms to latch on to and can come across as abrasive. This is more the art of abstractism than the warmth of realism, to put it in artistic terms - Salvador Dali versus Thomas Aiken*.

Not all of it is great, but there are enough moments that truly shine that make the rough spots seem okay. Recommended.

*Thomas Aiken was a American Realist (circa late 19th early 20th century) whose ability to capture moments on canvas borders eerily on the photorealistic.

[Photo (c) and courtesy Autotonic]

The Green Line (3:09) / Agustus Syphilus (3:39) / Blue Line Pt 2 (3:35) / *;!:- (1:18) / Francis Locrius (3:45) / Chunks of Syrup Amidst Plain Yoghurt (5:54) / At The Birthday Party (3:06) / Pictor's Metamorphoses (3:17) / Rhinoceros (4:47) / Salamander (3:52) / 2 Birds (1 Wing) (5:01) / Oodles of Noodles (1:04) / Untitled Track (4:07) / Untitled Track (0:25)

The Diminisher - soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, Fender Rhodes, theremin and and voice
Marta Tennae - drums, fuzz banjo, conn organ, casio, Fender Rhodes, tape splices/edits, and voice
Blue Hawaii - electric bass, bass viol, fretless guitar, veena, cello, casio, conn organ, tape splices/edits and voice
Shevlicon - vibraphone (12, 10) and drums (end - 12)
Andra Kulans - violin (8, 9, 11, 12) and voice (7)
Karla Galva - violin (7)
DJ White Lightning - voice (10)
The DePaul Symphony Orch - (4)

In A Different City (1999)

Genre: RIO

Origin US

Added: November 17th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1304
Language: english


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