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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tyft - Smell The Difference (Skirl, 2009) ****½

Tearing his way through jazz, Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson continues to move even deeper into the possibilities of power jazz, building his music on the mad yet solid foundation of hardhitting drums and guitar power chords, selecting the best of modern metal as inspiration, from the slow droning beats alternating with superfast rhythm changes, accentuated by lightning fast shredding notes, headbanging himself and yourself into a trance in the process, and wouldn't it all be a little bit bland and boring if this music was not in the hands of the absolute masters of the modern fusion between jazz and rock, to know : Jim Black on drums, Chris Speed on clarinets, Andrew d'Angelo on sax, Peter Evans on trumpet, and Joel Hamilton joining on electronics on track four, a horn front line broader than on earlier releases and one that superimposes melodic themes on the voluminous rhythms, cleverly, in counterpoint or just in unison with the heavy beats, offering of course the real treat in their wild yet disciplined soloing, disciplined because this music is measured and planned to the very microsecond, not much is left to chance, adding quality and precision in the execution, which is half the joy because you will be taken by surprise by unexpected twists and turns, including some excursions into the more melodic territory of Jim Black's Alasnoaxis, where the mellow sentiments fuse with the raw and abrasive, adding risky complexities of the don't-try-this-at-home variety to simplicity and vice versa, hitting you in the face as well as pleasing you immensely at the same time, offering varying modes and moods and rhythms and phrases, explosions and implosions, on and on, making this more than just a stylistic exercise, but a real worthwhile new synthesis of creative jazz sensitivity, craftmanship and skills with the compelling and exhilirating mad pumping drive of metal.

© stef