Him - Our Point Of Departure

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Perishable Records
Catalog Number: PER012
Format: CD
Total Time: 38:17:00

HimHim's Our Point Of Departure continues in the techno-jazz direction of it's predecessor Sworn Eyes, but the jazz element is the strongest this time out. Not straight ahead jazz, mind you, and not the sticky-sweet smooth-jazz kind either, but somewhere close to avant-jazz. It takes the trad jazz muse and gives it new life with angular percussion and rounded bass rhythm. Cool jazz, if only to give an old term a new meaning. This is jazz for the hip 30-somethings out there - a category I fall into (except the hip part).

The album opens with the energetic "Arrival" which relies on a deep, thrumming bass, frenetic percussion, and bursts of cheerful guitar. At about 3 minutes in, a tenor sax is added to the mix. All this comes courtesy Fred Erskine, Doug Scharin and Jon Theordore, Sean Meadows, and Carlo Cennamo, respectively. Where it goes later is hard to describe as the unity of the first part of the track scatters, where the instruments seem to be at opposite corners of the room, tentatively following their own muse, the only constant being the percussion. They do, of course, all come together again, where the rhythm behind the trumpet becomes loping. I thought of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Because the transition is so smooth, you don't immediately realize that the change in course is because there's been a change in tracks ("Liberation Part I"). "Liberation Part II" features guitar as it's lead instrument, but here it very industrial sounding, shimmering but not in the way that term is usually applied. Hmm...a loose buzzsaw, say, that's a little wobbly.

"Third Wish" is little more subtle, bass and percussion are the most prominent, while a lazy guitar gently muses over what it wants to say, speaking sporadically with few words. Sax comes in to offer some suggestions, some brief, some extended and quite profound. All quite beautiful, and heady. If you don't melt into your couch on this one, you're way too tense. The sax becomes uncertain of itself, having listened to the guitar, and muses itself ... but after a while brightens, as if it has come to some revelation - life is good ... the wish has been granted.

The remainder of the album follows in the same direction, each filled with interesting bits and bobs, brief tone colors that are quite interesting, but that don't stay around long enough for you know them too well. I find the scratching and stuttering of "Persistent Life" a little annoying, but that aspect is a small part of this...well, decidedly strange track. Though if you were to apply visuals, the chaotic nature of our life processes - blood flowing through veins, a human heart beating, or whatever you can recall from those films in science class or on PBS. But also, there is, at the beginning, a lumbering feel that made me think it could accompany footage elephants or other large animals traversing some surrealistic landscape.

I have to say, I find this title quite clever for it's double meaning: "Weary Not Beaten." On the one hand, it sounds affirmative: I may be weary but I'm not beaten; on the other hand, negative: I can't get over this weariness.

Folks who know me from having read my reviews know that this is the kind of stuff I like - this is music designed to be listened to in a state of relaxation - however you bring that to being. For me, it'd be sitting in a comfortable recliner, headphones on, lights out and nothing but this to fill the space. Of course, as I love saxophones, and that this has them in abundant supply, along with trumpet ... ah, I'm in nirvana.

Also released by FatCat Records in the UK in 2000 (FATCD12)

Arrival (7:10) / Liberation Part I (5:11) / Liberation Part II (3:29) / Third Wish (7:49) / Weary Not Beaten (6:46) / Persistent Life (7:52)

Carlo Cennamo - tenor sax, keyboards, percussion
Fred Erskine - bass, trumpet, keyboards, guitar
Sean Meadows - guitar
Doug Scharin - drums, percussion, electronics
Jon Theodore - percussion and keyboards

Egg (1996)
Chill And Peel (12-inch) (1996)
Crooklyn Dub Consortium: Certified Dope Comp. Vol 1 & 2 (1997)
Interpretive Belief System (1997)
Him (1998) (split CD with Dylan Group)
Sworn Eyes (1999)
Our Point Of Departure (2000)
New Features (2001)
Remix Series #1 Japan (2003)
Many In High Places Are Not Well (2003)

Genre: Electronic

Origin US

Added: December 19th 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1118
Language: english


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