Jackhammer Trio — Sonarchy and Synergy
(HipSync HSG 99-026, 2000, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2003-08-01
Seattle’s answer to the NY Downtown jazz scene is part fusion and jamming entourage, but also a tight trio too. Rik Wright is the guitarist in these ten work-outs, and his style reminds me of Devotion era John McLaughlin. The group is steeped in many influences ranging from the early Tony Williams Lifetime (“7th & Pike”) to James Blood Ulmer but a bit more funky (as on “Concrete Spider Surfing”). Wright is the prime soloist on all tracks and gets free range to present his flanged tone in a positive light without many confines. The rhythm section of bassist Tannar Brewer and drummer Simon Grant navigates a wide sound map from stomping grooves (“Perimeter Man”) to outright driving rave-ups as on “Clean up Your Room.” Thelonius Monk’s piece, “Well You Needn’t” gets a bass heavy arrangement spliced with cross-cut drumming and wah-wah electric guitar. Their deconstruction of Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther Theme” is blistering reading on a well-known theme and hardly recognizable until the last minute of the track. Probably the best execution on the disc occurs on the album’s closer “Monkey Funk,” which could be described as a frantic race down a slippery highway, sirens wailing behind. Overall the trio is in the same genre as city mates Stinkhorn, but less free and more prone to outright blues jams. Highly recommended to fans of Massacre and 70s guitar driven fusion.
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Legendary Pink Dots - Seconds Late for the Brighton Line – 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of this band as well as a major change to their lineup. Long time band member Niels van Hoorn departed because of the demands of constant touring, reducing the band to... (2011) » Read more
From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.