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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Semantics - Semantics [Klanggalerie - 2020]

Semantics fall somewhere between searing-to-angular Avant jazz/ high octane fusion super-group bringing together three important figures in US modern composition/ experimental music scene- Ned Rothenberg, Elliott Sharp & Samm Bennett. In all, they put out two full-lengths- this 1986 self-titled debut, and its 1987 follow-up Bone Of Contention. Here on  Austrian label, Klanggalerie is a recent-ish CD reissue of the album.

This reissue comes in the form of a glossy four-panel digipak- it features a yellow, blue & black colour scheme- the cover takes in a blend on black vinyl, a small turntable, an old drawing of an oriental figure, and some line chaotic-to-straight line work.

For this ten-track release the line was: Ned Rothenberg- Alto & Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet, Prepared Bamboo Flute. Elliott Sharp- Double Neck Guitar/ bass, vocals, Voilinoid. Samm Bennett- Drums, percussion, electronic percussion. The album runs forty-six minutes- with the track lengths varying between two & eight minutes. The release kicks off with the longest track here “Terra Firma” this is a wonderful urgent & angularly jiving blend of joint horn swim & sway, detail ethnic-to- layer percussion and tight bass darts-  it moves between jarring horn swings, and slight more pared-back ethnic percussion and bounding-to snapping bass work. By track three we’ve come to the rolling & bounding bass clarinet, scabbing-to-waling horn 'n' guitar work, and battering drum attack of “Direct Dial Dirge”. Through to the maniacally twanging & baying blues slide guitar meets swing horn grooving & cluttering-to- crashing percussion of “Vilet’s Van”.  Onto rapid-rushing guitar pick tones, shouting, and smokey wailing to fidgeting horn attack of “Didi! It’s The Other Foot”. The albums a varied & largely vibrantly searing sonic trip- with each party adding both their own genre-centric & creative musical flare to the proceedings- making a barnstorm & daring record.

If you like tight, and often percussive taut Avant jazz/ anglar fusion with clever genre darts & touches you’ll be needing to pick-up this reissue of Semantics- and let us hope the band's second album resurfaces at some point soon too…another very worthy reissue from Klanggalerie

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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