Spiritflake Music

John Meyer: electric guitar; Douglas Johnson: Clevinger bass; Michael Hovnanian: double bass; Tom Mendel: electric bass; Randy Farr: congas, percussion; Bob Garrett: drum kit, percussion.

Tritonium – third release by Chicago’s Gunnelpumpers – consists of three tracks lasting from 8 to 20 minutes, structured at large as groove-based improvisations. All those basses imply a cardinal one-word rendering, and that’s “clout”: the sound’s might is in fact hard-hitting, at times even overpowering in spite of various calmer sections where a subterraneously insidious heating process remains nevertheless discernible. An immediate reference coming to mind is Miles Davis circa Agharta (obviously minus the trumpet), with incidences ranging from King Crimson’s David Cross’ nervous viola in Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (the very beginning of “Sir Cirrus”) to the ceaseless propulsion of Rebop Kwaku Baah’s congas in many Traffic jams (pun intended). The alternance of binary and ternary rhythms at the flick of a switch, the galvanic matter generated by the acid timbres of Meyer’s guitars and the different embodiments of the basses – Johnson’s Clevinger often screeching and snarling like a bad beast – warrant active engagement for the listener, thus overcoming the few moments of “what now?” indecisiveness.

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