If you are a fan of stoner/doom metal, you’ll want to pick up this vinyl morsel. It’s a split LP featuring Year Of No Light and Machu Picchu Mother Future, the latter a makeshift supergroup featuring members of Lesbian, Conifer, and Souvenir’s Young America.
The Year Of No Light side features two songs, with individual collaborations with Fear Falls Burning and Nadja. Side Two is the Machu Picchu Mother Future side, where 11 musicians team up for a massive audio fuckfest called “Space Mountain Forever”.
A French label called Music Fear Satan is releasing this, and you can buy it from them directly.
This CD has been playing for so long in my CD playing units that I found myself wanting to listen to it over and over and not having to review it. But a review must be done so here it is.
The trio of Michael Jefry Stevens (piano), Harvey Sorgen (drums), and Steve Rust (bass) was one that worked when they came into a New York studio to record A Scent In Motion(Konnex) in 1994. For whatever reason this album was kept locked for 15 years, and jazz fans will be thankful that it is now seeing the light of day. These three musicians have played in countless sessions in the last 15 years, sometimes together, other times pairing up with someone, but you always hear excellents, and they demonstrate this on this album, one that is a mixture of bursts of restless energy before falling back into something more comfortable and soothing. In a track like “Sentry” or “Camco” they’re almost fighting for jazz dominance to where it’s pretty much like free jazz, but then Stevens will play a delicate melody before playing something that sounds like cascading waterfall, as he does in “Fairy Tale”. Even when Stevens ma be playing something very bluesy, you can often hear bassist Rust try to counterplay this. It’s not all the time, but when caught, it’s obvious they’re having fun regardless of the tone the song is trying to convey.
What I also love is sensing their unspoken language, obviously these songs came after practicing the songs for awhile but there’s something in this music, something that sounds like… you can hear mental activity and it’s not just in the way they play or how it’s played. It’s just spot on, and it’s a great thing to hear, especially when done so well.
These three have recorded together a number of times, and I hope that the next one will not take another fifteen years to uncover.
When you have a good singing voice, share it with the world is what I often say. When you have a great voice, it is only a matter of time before others will notice. Okay so maybe it’s time, hard work, and determination. Of course I did not forget talent, and someone who has all of this is April Hall, whose Fun Out Of Life (Bee Boy) is a nice middle finger to those who insist jazz has no more life.
What moves me about hearing Hall is that this woman can sing, without a doubt. But she’s not just a jazz singer, for while she has done some work with pianist Pamela Hines (whose work I’ve reviewed a number of times over the years), she also has a folk album in her discography. But when I hear songs like “Foolin’ MySelf, “Boogie Woogie Blues (I May Be Wrong)”, and “I’m A Fool To Want You”, she can really tear it up in the blues department and I would love to hear her in a soul setting.
In other words, what I hear is character from someone who sings with a lot of passion and heart. I can’t stand it when someone just sings jazz-by-the-book, it’s almost effortless regardless of how decent or half-decent the songs are. Hall makes me want to hear more, as she is very comfortable in what she does and her voice is very comforting. I think with her range, she could play around with the song selection too, not only do the expected jazz standards, but to take any song from any genre and reinterpret it into the April Hall songbook. I hope she’ll take her talents as far as she can take it, but then go around the corner and push it to new places.