The New & Avant-garde Music Store

Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 979, April 20, 2015

Although Alexander MacSween has been making music for thirty years, this is first release under his own name. He was a drummer for Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra, The Nils, Tinker, Blinker The Star, Pest 5000 and Bionic, but also ventured into improvisation with Sam Shalabi (as Detention) and he’s part of Martin Tetreault’s Turntable Quartet. Solo he sometimes works as Macheen with a drum machine and effect pedals. He is a man of many talents, which comes to great use when recording his own album. He plays here rhythm programming, sampler, tom toms, keyboards, voice, drums and marimba and along there is input from Corinne René on marimba, wood blocks, drum set, tympani, bowed gong, cymbal, percussion, bowed vibraphone, Nicolas Caloia on contrabass and univox MaxiKorg and Shalabi on guitar and nylon string guitar. They play on several of the pieces but not always and not all the time. This is indeed a highly varied album of some excellent music that easily moves around the circles of free jazz, jazz, improvisation, electronics, abstract sound scapes and these circles sometimes bump into each other, and sometimes stay wide apart. There is a fine choice of sampled voices, scattered around sparsely in these pieces. There are fine crafted rock rhythms, and Shalabi’s guitar spins, bows, moves around like he’s trying to kill the damn thing. Sometimes it seems that MacSween wants to play a more or less conventional rock song with some weirdo elements, and then there’s something like White Bear and Under The Plum Tree, with all its abstract electronics and sound scaping and the latter with a soaring cello. Crocodiles with some fine voice samples has a nice film noir ring to it. This is a highly varied record, which goes from strong song to another song. Anyone with an open mind should seek this out.

This is a highly varied record, which goes from strong song to another song. Anyone with an open mind should seek this out.

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