Saturday, June 13, 2009
Mandarin Movie - Mandarin Movie
This album was the last time I bought a new CD without having read a review or having heard a single note of in advance. No, I had no idea what this was going to sound like! It was on Aesthetics Records and had an interesting cover, and that was good enough for me. It's easy to justify buying things like on impulse when you've got a generous employee discount. I was also spending a lot more money than I was making and had to ask my parents for help more than once. What an embarrassing couple of years that was.
This band is lead by Rob Mazurek, who's probably one of the 2 or 3 biggest names in Chicago jazz and put out a ton of albums as part of the Chicago Underground Duo/Trio/Quartet/etc. before moving to Brazil or something. Here he's credited (in order) with playing computer, electric eels, Moog, pianette, and cornet. Lots of other musicians of the avant-garde play on this album too. I don't have time to list them all but maybe some of these names might tickle your fancy. Matthew Lux, Alan Licht, John Herndon... hungry now? I thought so!
If you like Isotope 217 or Tortoise but wish they'd spend more time droning and bringing in the power electronics, or enjoy the dark and spazzed out side of jazz fusion ("Rated X," "Theme From Jack Johnson," et al.) then this is the album you've been waiting for. Then again, you'd probably be better off just listening to old Miles Davis or Borbetomagus or whatever floats your boat. Plenty of sinister grooves here, but you've got to do your part while listening or it's gonna sound pretty wretched. You know what I mean? This isn't latte-sipping background music, but that doesn't mean you can't stroke your chin to it. That's actually recommended. I also enjoy this in the car, probably more so than at home. Go figure!
Download: "The Highest Building in the World", the last and longest song on the album. Why settle for less when you can have the best? Music to soothe the savage breast.