Brainkiller – The Infiltration (2011)

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Remember last month when I said I have more examples of weird-assed trios coming up? Here’s another one.

Inspired by the long running Ray Anderson-led BassDrumBone trio, Brainkiller has Brian Allen manning the trombone and Hernan Hecht on drums, but substitutes the bass for keyboards and effects by Jacob Koller. Despite sporting a name that would be perfect for a death metal band (and a CD cover to match), Brainkiller is rooted in jazz, but also uses jazz as a jumping off point to just about every contemporary music form out there: rock, hip hop, funk, etc., with an experimental bent on every song.

Their debut album, The Infiltration, even introduces the band with the wildly swerving “U Can’t Stop Z Train” that seems to attempt all this at once. There’s plenty of chops-laden improvising going on in the midst of all this — check out Allen’s sassy ‘bone solo on “Casketch” — so it’s about the performance with these guys just as much as it’s about the concepts. Koller manages to make you forget about the bass … or guitar for that matter. Listening to “Pianer” you’re even led to think that both are there, but that’s just creative keyboard manipulations at play, there.

There are four quick sketches (“Pianer” being one of them), running 2:23 or less, and three more running right in the three minute range. Think of them as sonic equivalents of those concentrated laundry detergents: you only need a little bit to get the full impact.

Zany and fearless, Brainkiller isn’t taking their time developing their own sound; they come right out the gate sounding like no one else. They are already cooking up their follow-up album, and I can’t imagine what they’ll do for an encore. But I’m anxious to find out.

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The Infiltration went on sale May 17, and comes courtesy of Rare Noise Records.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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