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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hypercolor – Hypercolor (Tzadik, 2015) ***½

By Chris Haines

The music of Hypercolor is firmly rooted in heavy rock and contains a real aggression and attitude that this music demands.  The pieces on the album are of a composed nature, however, there is a looseness in the sounds produced that seems to be borrowing more from improvised music.

Although this should be of no surprise with the band comprised of Eyal Maoz (guitar), James Ilgenfritz (bass), Lukas Ligeti (percussion) and the varied influences that each of them bring to the project.

The album is kick-started by the industrious and energetic opener of Squeaks with it’s thundering but intricate toms intro from Ligeti, the raw and powerful riffage, giving way to pyrotechnic squeaks and squeals from Maoz, all being cemented together by Ilgenfritz’s solid bass line with punk rock demeanour.  A short punchy number that serves its purpose: to thrust the trio’s music into our conscious awareness and announce its arrival with gusto.  With Maoz’s skronking guitar well to the fore throughout the album it is with interest that he resembles Sonny Sharrock the most on the Lukas Ligeti penned track Ernesto, Do You Have A Cotton Box? due to the melody as much as his tone and phrasing. At times the music on the album reminds me of post-rock acts such as Trans Am, but also moves beyond that remit to give a fresh spin on instrumental rock music.

It appears that the bands rationale was to write complex arrangements for the pieces only to perform them with a more carefree and Dadaistic stance to create a hybrid between rock, no wave, and free improvising ideals.  It takes a while for it to really get its hooks in you but there is a natural blend between the written parts and the sections where the music moves into more improvised territory.  A brave and bold statement, not so much jazz-rock as rock-jazz.