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Friday, January 19, 2007

Mâäk's Spirit - 5

Mâäk's Spirit is a Belgian jazz band that has a track record of avant-garde adventures, with varying success. Lives and Le Nom Du Vent are so far their best records, their collaboration with Moroccan musicians and singers on Al Majmaä was less good. Their fourth CD brought a combination of jazz with spoken word, something I am allergic too.
On this CD, the attack is different : the spoken word is still there, but the electronics and post-production reign. The music is extremely violent, and I would qualify it as noise-jazz or violent-jazz if these terms exist. The album starts with a big band swing, which sounds like it comes out of from a 78" album played on a grammophone. But then the violence takes over, once in a while with added poetry, and the violence doesn't stop. The last part of the CD was recorded live in Brussels in March 2006, a concert which I attended. Guitarist Jean-Yves Evrard ended the last with only one string on his instrument, to give you an idea of the powerplay this band brings. But don't get me wrong, these are six top musicians, yet the chaos, the electronic distortion and the violence smother the musicality which tries to rise to the surface once in a while. These guys are not afraid to leave the beaten track, but this is a little too much for me.