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June 17, 2013

"Life In The Sugar Candle Mines" - Black Host

The new Northern Spy release from Black Host, Life In The Sugar Candle Mines, is textured and far out.  Cooper-Moore (piano, synthesizer), Brandon Seabrook (guitar), Darius Jones (alto sax), and Pascal Niggenkemper (bass) join drummer Gerald Cleaver here.  Much like Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers, leader Gerald Cleaver allows Black Host to act as catapult for the collective endeavor of his bandmates. Yet each individual identity from this quintet acts as their own appendage within this improvising ensemble.

Life In The Sugar Candle Mines is a collective romp that certainly stands out within Avant-Garde Jazz.  And each cut seems to be more exciting than the next.  The first two pieces, "Hover," and "Ayler Children" present a fierce momentum early on in the record, but later tracks such as "Test-Sunday," and "Wrestling" still anchor my attention with their building intensities.  While numbers such as "Citizen Rose" and "Amsterdam / Frames" offer spacey explorations reminiscent of prog/psychedelic and thrash rock.  I bet Thurston Moore listens to this album on repeat.

Still, there are melodic parts along with creative ensemble bits that inspire a conceptual motive here; much like succussful visual, abstract artists.  If you're into experimental music but are searching for the right diving off point for the Jazzier side then Life In The Sugar Candle Mines will hit the sweet spot.  With its forward-looking approach and strong roots in the NYC Avant-Garde scene experienced listeners have an album worth checking out as well.