ROB MAZUREK OCTET – Skull Sessions


Rob Mazurek: cornet, ring modulator; Nicole Mitchell: piccolo, flute, voice; John Herndon: drums; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Mauricio Takara: cavaquinho, percussion; Guilherme Granado: keyboards, electronics; Thomas Rohrer: rabeca, C melody saxophone; Carlos Issa: guitar, electronics.

The expression “go with the flow” is one that instantly comes to mind when I (vainly) try to center myself on the sounds emitted by Skull Sessions. An album replete with massive electro-acoustic clouds whose acid rain potential is indubitably high, in comparison with an instrumental detail that, in many instances, is not precisely identifiable as infinitesimal. Indeed the large part of these prolonged pieces – influenced by, but not slave to the music of Miles Davis circa 1975 – directly connects with what Soft Machine would have known as “floating worlds”. The group’s propensity to overlay diverse contrapuntal plans causes rather continual adjustments in the textural properties, patently characterized by a not-exactly-regulated opposition to structural control. The single players join their respective fantasies in (mostly) blaring fashion according to the common laws of agglomerative improvisation, with particular emphasis in the rip-roaring “Galactic Ice Skeleton”. On the other hand, exceptions to this general rule can be found in the last two tracks: “Skull Caves Of Alderon” is founded on an irresistibly galloping leitmotif, whereas “Keeping The Light Up” is a short, quiet joint conversation ending the program on a somewhat relieving note. The Rob Mazurek Octet, born from the fusion of a pair of bands led by the trumpeter (Exploding Star Orchestra and São Paulo Underground) appears as an organizational agency to reach places where transonic collectiveness is more essential than individualistic meticulosity.

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