Exposé Online banner

Vacuum Tree Head — Rhizomique
(Pest Colors 42R, 2019, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-02-13

Rhizomique Cover art

We last heard from VTH in 2018 with their two excellent EP-length releases Aasraa and Botofogos in Shadow Position. Fact is, it’s pretty hard to track down information on these guys; Discogs shows only four releases by them, the latest being 2011. If you search the internet you’ll get all kinds of hits for vacuum cleaners, intake manifolds and matched vacuum tubes, add “band” to the search and you’ll do a little better. They do have a Myspace page with audio for many of their earlier albums, and their Facebook page shows images of the current edition of the band and their more recent releases. Rhizomique, their latest offering, was released in December of 2019 and features nine tracks, but still clocks in at just under twenty minutes. That’s not a complaint, not at all, this band is a powerhouse of ideas and never fails to generate interest or deliver impressive outbursts of tasty musicianship. Founding members Jason Berry and Michael De La Cuesta, both multi-instrumentalists, have a hand in the composition of nearly all of the cuts, along with Amanda Chaudhary (synths, keyboards, piano) and guitarist Richard Corny helping out, track depending. Drummer Justin Markovits and bassist Brett Warren play on all of the cuts, as does Jason Bellenkes (flute, soprano, alto and tenor saxes, clarinet) and Steve Adams (baritone sax), with several other instrumentalists playing on this track or that, throughout the album. The set kicks off with “Hegemony Cricket” that will remind a bit of instrumental Zappa in the Grand Wazoo period, but it is the unmistakable acrobatic voice of Amy X Neuburg that is first heard on the second track, “Bosses,” that pretty much sets the tone for much of the rest of what’s here, carrying forward to “Nubdug” and “Marlon Brando” with a mix of power jazz, rock, hints of bop, funk, Canterbury, and much more. “Mystic Chord” is a short instrumental vignette that offers layers of woodwinds over Myles Boisen’s lap steel with unusual electronic sounds hovering in the background, with another short instrumental “Gnostic Charms” following, this one being more aggressive and driven, back into Zappa territory, though it’s barely over a minute long. “Meritaten” is barely half a minute, but acts as an introduction to the powerful and funky “EMS Deluxe,” a bit reminiscent of the early 70s Miles Davis style, with Amy X’s vocals gracing both tracks and a killer guitar solo by Corny. “Bubbleclaw” closes the set with Neuberg's voice over an engaging slow-building jazz-rock epic all of a minute and a half in length! There’s a lot of amazing twists and turns across these nine tracks that will keep the listener on the edge of their seat.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Vacuum Tree Head, Amy X Neuburg

More info
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/vacuumtreehead9

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Odin - SWF Session 1973 & Live at the Maxim – Along with the reissue of this quartet's amazing self-titled debut album from '73 (which originally appeared on the Vertigo label), Long Hair has released these two collections of archival recordings,...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues