Something striking about clarinetist Ben Goldberg's music is that whatever the setting, his compositions unfold in delightful and unexpected ways. Perhaps unexpected also best describes this trio recording from Goldberg, Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich and frequent Charlie Hunter and Nels Cline collaborator drummer Scott Amendola.
Unexpected in terms of the instrumentation - clarinet, guitar and drums, and in the range of the compositions, and of course, in how the trio jells. The album is a collection of short, tightly composed tunes, that range from light and whimsical (the acoustic guitar supported opener 'Bent Spaces') to abstract and spacious ('Determinate/Indeterminate') to the dense and rockish ('Time for Helmets'). There is always something interesting going on between the often buoyant melodies, propulsive percussion, and visceral guitar.
While this is a 2014 release, and it was recorded in 2010, it still makes for a nice addition to the other albums by Ben Goldberg reviewed this week.