A splinter project from Cloud Nothings - of whom Dylan Baldi and Jayson Gerycz are both members - Blessed Repair is an expression of experimentalism freed from the pressure of expectations. With Baldi playing the saxophone and Gerycz on percussion, it’s the sound of two close friends and creators exploring different territory together.
Limited Vinyl LP £17.48 CAK147LP
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I mean, fair play to Baldi and Gerycz, I certainly did not foresee a free jazz turn when I first listened to Cloud Nothings way back in 2012. ‘Attack on Memory’ is an album wrought from sheer repetition. Guitars riffs and lyrics and drums whirl round and around, slowly pummeling you into an emo stupor. ‘Blessed Repair’ will pummel you too, just in an altogether less predictable manner.
Dylan Baldi makes the move from lead vocals and guitar to saxophone here, while Jayson Gerycz is still drumming. And both sound absolutely cut loose. The album starts with ‘Street Mantra’ and some almost Cloud Nothing-y variations on a theme from Baldi, but then the duo lose it. Gerycz transitions from playing skittishly to bashing away - something it sounds like he’s wanted to do his whole career. Baldi also let’s go and before long he’s doing that squalling sax thing that only free jazz fans (like me!) like.
Tracks two and five are ‘Phonetic Tramsway’ parts one and two and see Baldi and Gerycz taking an unsettlingly minimal approach. Both start with uncomfortable long notes from Baldi as stagesetting. In both Gerycz then joins in with a single chime, before the two enter into a stilted yet beguiling musical conversation.
Of the tracks it’s ‘Cedar Blue’ that is the most lyrical, and to my ears the highlight. Not that free jazz ought to be lyrical, but Baldi clear has a good ear for melody and it’s a shame he couldn’t find a way to bring that include that in this surprising experiment.
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