Heavy weight; old made new on this beautiful first ever pressing from Peter Zummo (The Lounge Lizards) and Arthur Russell (Arthur Russell). This remastered recording also features Guy Kluvecsek (Alvin Lucifer, John Zorn collaborator). These emotional spaced out soul adventuring trips were recorded live at Battery Sound in 1985. The past has been brought to the present. Artwork by Nancy Graves. Music for the whole of your body.
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- Lateral Pass by Peter Zummo (featuring Arthur Russell)
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This particular piece of Arthur Russell-related nonsense comes from the desk of trombonist Peter Zummo, who explores the Battery Sound venue as if it were an avant-garde playground, inviting his quintet in for a session of apocalyptic free jazz bluster that rarely escapes its own wall-scraped dissonance, but also sounds routinely beautiful thanks to the bright instrumentation and organic nature of his non-arrangements. It’s also worth giving a particular shout out to Mustafa Ahmed, whose percussion is the real driving force behind this record’s elusive, addictive nature; between moments of ambient thrumming on accordion and Russell's cello sturdiness, Ahmed reaches out to offer a rhythm like a gentle current -- or else, he takes out the marimba and lets it rip.
Made with prepared dance performances in mind, composer Zummo seems to use ‘Lateral Pass’ as a test of the boundaries between our bodies and melody, creating a stark, overwhelmingly raw record from instruments we might expect propulsive melodies and pure joy to come from -- it’s as if we’re waiting for the sonic queues that would make us move on impulse, but instead we’re offered only the set-up, the chaotic moment before our intuitions are roused. The accordion rolls in with an almost random give and take, like it’s being played by a busker who’s had an existential crisis and given up on his act, while Zummo’s trombone feels mesmerising in a very disjointed, fumbled way. It’s Ahmed who keeps the connection between music and body alive, using drum rolls the same way Jon Hassell did on his ‘Fourth World’ collaboration with Brian Eno; there’s a disorientating world around his locked-in rhythms, but he’s concentrated on the reality, refusing to blur his eyes.
It’s uncanny, is ‘Lateral Pass’: it never quite makes its purpose clear to its listener, building on compositional ideas until they’re at the periphery of their completion, and then dissolving them or suspending them in time. This isn’t free jazz as it appears in your mind: it doesn’t spew and screech and fall apart. Instead it runs in place, Zummo interested in what he can do with his weird music, and how our minds will react if we’re presented with the rhythms strong enough to believe in what happens around them.
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