With an all-star cast that incorporates Stara Rzeka, Kapital and T’ien Lai, the odds for Innercity Ensemble turning out quality music are high. And they don’t disappoint! III is sort of jazz-derived, but also totally grounded in thick heavy rhythms. Definite jazz-fusion vibes here, but without any of the weaker trappings of that genre. Out on Instant Classic.
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The third in a series of LPs from Innercity Ensemble continues its project of improvised genre suggestion, further putting together (and fucking up) a puzzle of musical styles. It’s easy to call this kinda thing free jazz, but the Ensemble claims, quite defiantly, to come from a host of musical tropes: some of them played jazz, it’s true, while others came from noise rock, industrial and electronic music. If the improvised soloing suddenly cuts out for the live band equivalent of Factory Floor with horns, don’t be surprised -- where there’s the place to fall apart, there’s a chance for this rhythmically sensitive group to glue it all back together.
It’s a journey. It’s a few journeys: this record traverses wildly disparate passages of cluttered, claustrophobic sound collapse and limitless infinity grooves, making for a kind of comforting dislocation. It’s stretches of languishing hornwork and bitty noise can just as soon recall Joe McPhee as the band’s tethered beatwork and looping instrumentation can recall post-rock’s Lotto, who recently provided Instant Classic with the kind of rhythmic schematics many a band would love to perfect.
At its weirdest, it’s a record that can harken to both the weatherbeaten extremities of band member Stara Rzeka and the rhythmic interplay of Horse Lords (the cowbell is inclusive). It packs discordance and melody so close. It holds free play and the rule book in one hand. It jams and very much doesn’t. Get between those moments.
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- III by Innercity Ensemble
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