Click here to [close]

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hairy Bones: Snakelust (to Kenji Nakagami) (Clean Feed, 2012) *****

I turn on my stereo and the music immediately nails me down, it pushes me into my seat. I try to get up and fight against it but I have got no chance. It grabs me by the throat, this is completely physical and breathtaking but it is painful in a comfortable way. I surrender and I start to enjoy this massive attack.

Hairy Bones is Peter Brötzmann (saxes, clarinets, tarogato), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet, electronics), Massimo Pupillo (e-bass), and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and whenever Brötzmann comes up with such a line-up there are always references to his legendary bands Last Exit and Die Like a Dog (the label makes them as well). And it points backs indeed: as in Die Like a Dog the rhythm group is a well-oiled machine, as in Last Exit there is a strong rock approach especially because Pupillo’s roots lie in the noise-jazz Italian group Zu and Nilssen-Love is the locomotive of Mats Gustafsson’s crossover beast The Thing.

“Snakelust” is a 53-minute-one-track-monster dedicated to the Japanese writer Kenji Nakagami and it offers everything this music can give. Like with Die Like a Dog there are different combinations, there is not always the whole band playing. You can listen to all kinds of trios (Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love, Brötzmann/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love, Kondo/Brötzmann/ Nilssen-Love), to various duos (Brötzmann/Kondo, Brötzmann/Nilssen-Love, Pupillo/Nilssen-Love), to Brötzmann and Pupillo solos or to the whole band. It is a simple sensation how these parts always come together as if this was the easiest and most organic thing.

Thus, there are magical moments galore: For example, the Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love trio is sheer madness, they sound more like hardcore industrial rock, especially with Nilssen-Love pumping like hell (he clearly is the steam machine of the band), while Kondo is driving his trumpet through all kinds of effects like fuzz boxes and wah-wah pedals, fighting invisible demons, chasing shadows in more subtle passages of reverberating, superimposed sounds. Or when Brötzmann plays a wonderful, melancholic solo on the tarogato and Nilssen-Love joins him almost stroking his drum kit with jazz brushes before Kondo is replacing Brötzmann and the whole thing is flowing into a high-voltage killer trio with Pupillo again. When one day HBO will shoot the attack of the dragons on King’s Landing in their top notch series “Game of Thrones” the full throttle parts of this album should be the soundtrack.

The label information says that this “documented concert was voted by Portuguese critics as the last year's very best”.  Yes, it is purgatory but I always feel purified after listening, too. Play really loud!

There are some live excerpts available on the internet but this short clip comes close to what the band sounds like on this album:

You can buy the album from 

© stef


joesh said...

Nice review Martin, it's in my 'to listen' folder, now I'll have to check it out.

As for the video it looks great live, although I'm not sure I'd want to spend 50 odd minutes listening to that coming out of my hi-fi?

Martin Schray said...

Thank you, Joesh.
And believe me: you will!
I chose this sample because this one comes closest as to the sound. The first 15 minutes really are like that but then you will see how varied this 53-minute-piece is.

Colin said...

They played a second piece that night, which lasts about 23 minutes, and is also terrific. I wonder why it wasn't included, as both fit on a single CD.

Pete said...

Just got this CD on the strength of this review, and it's beautiful. I'm not a Brotzmann expert as I'm just starting to scale the mountain of his work, but I think his tone in this performance is gorgeous. And you're right, it is varied indeed.