MACHINE MASS featuring DAVE LIEBMAN – Inti

Moonjune

Michel Delville: guitar, Roland GR-09, electronics; Tony Bianco: drums, loops, percussion;
Dave Liebman: soprano & tenor sax, wooden flute; Saba Tewelde: vocals in “The Secret Place”

One of the qualities that interest me in Moonjune’s motley output is their unfaltering faith in mixing issues related to instrumental up-to-dateness with elements from foregone schools, pairing differently pedigreed musicians for each occasion. It’s often a potentially breakneck move, in that this can cause an album to resemble a potpourri of styles and energies, the obligatory technical expertise not sufficient to cover the holes generated by a scarcity of ideas. On the other hand, there are instances – as it happens in Inti – where one’s not really looking for the reinvention of the wheel, but is perfectly satisfied with the sheer quality of the interplay even when the compositional factor is not the actual core of the matter. It’s at that point that an artist’s class shines, “class” – at least in my book – implying the innate ability to realize that crying out loud and talking all the time is not the rule of thumb.

In relation to this CD, good things can be extracted after the immersion in episodes such as “Lloyd”, places where Delville’s digital facility on the fretboard can be unleashed upon a steady jazz-rock polyrhythmic segmentation – Bianco can truly impersonate an octopus, if he so chooses – and in which Liebman approaches lyricalness with fine sax scents. In case someone doesn’t recall the reedist’s collaboration with Miles Davis, we’re also treated to an India-tinged version of “In A Silent Way” characterized by evocative wooden flutes. To end the triptych of consecutive tracks, I did appreciate the rock-ish neurosis of “A Sight”, and the lone song in there – “The Secret Place” – is not particularly painful to swallow, either. Perhaps the lone chapter not on a par with the rest is the overly mechanical finale, “Voice”. As one witnesses the progressive endangerment of musical genres with performers actually mastering the tools of their trade, the mere aspect of a corporeal participation to the music – if only by tapping the foot, or through being pervaded by intricate designs that still sound both intelligible and genuinely impassioned – is more than enough to accept this release with a plausive nod, in no small part thanks to Delville’s effort to avoid the extreme cheesiness usually associated with guitar synth-derived timbres (check the extended improvisation titled “Elisabeth” for evidence).

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