Blemishes – Libido (Ana Ott)

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13570-libidoNotionally this is a free jazz album but clearly Blemishes found even the wild excesses of that genre (style ?) too limiting and so have made a jazz album that can only really be described as such because (I think) they use at least some of the instruments conventionally found on a jazz album. Saxophones, drums and double bass make an appearance but the whole thing only really dallies with music as a medium in which to capture their maniacally energetic and surreal outbursts. It’s not a musical experience so much as a kinetic one, like a Jackson Pollock transcribed into sound. There’s no better way to illustrate my point than to reference “An Insurgence In The Penile Colony” which creeps into your ears as a motley assortment of creaks, squeaks and scrapes lasting around eight minutes before shattering into intricately arranged but completely nonsensical blasts of free jazz played at the maximum possible speed. It seems the band take delight in playing against each other, rather than with, and this whirlwind of competing instruments leaves you stranded and isolated with no real idea what’s going on. This antagonistic relationship isn’t constant and they drift in and out of communication with each other, sometimes dallying with something like actual music before spinning away from each other in some new abstraction. It’s very hard to like this album but doing something as prosaic as liking it is obviously not the reaction they want to inspire. This kind of technically astute but aesthetically fragmented music is a big fat middle finger in the face to pretty much anyone who isn’t in Blemishes and even seasoned jazz weirdos will find it hard going, but if you can listen to some of Ornette Coleman’s more outlandish stuff then you may see the logic in this album.

67,000 dodecahedrons

Kim Monaghan

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