Click here to [close]

Friday, December 20, 2013

Landon Knoblock's CACAW - Stellar Power (Skirl ,2013) ****

The opening moments of CACAW's Stellar Power is a quick study in contrasts. A heavy rhythmic figure kicks things off and then soon enough a light electric piano locks into an abstract groove only to circle back to the thick riff.  The rhythms keep shifting back and forth, never too steady, but never too wobbly either. Then at the halfway mark, the keyboard distorts, the melody comes in on the sax, sounding somewhat like Weather Report.

The next track throws me, gone are the tricky grooves and gritty textures and in their place is a peculiar synth sound, like the 'brass orchestra' setting on an old Casio keyboard (no, not literally, it's a pretty cool sound) playing a lilting figure. As the sax takes on the melody the keyboard's sound morphs and the song fractures into little pieces.

CACAW is lead by keyboardist Landon Knoblock and, according to his website, the trio splintered off from a larger group that performed the music of pianist/composer Andrew Hill. While the group seems to have veered far from their origin, I suppose that when you have the talent of woodwind player Oscar Noriega and drummer of Jeff Davis behind you, and you're a keyboardist with a love of science and science fiction, how could you not expect to explore the intersection of synth rock and jazz with song titles that reference Blade Runner?

Give CACAW a listen ... it's a rich and evocative affair that explores pairing synthesized and acoustics sounds. The drive in 'Table Top Glances Before Dawn' is complimented nicely by the atmospheric balladry in 'Space Robots Fall in Love' and the sludgy riff that kick's off 'Eyes Heart Race.'

Check out CACAW here: