Exegesis – The Harmony Of The Anomaly (2011)

Electronic and eclectic, Exegesis represents one of the latest attempts to marry technology to the spirit of jazz. With mathematical jazz compositions, sampling and software applied to an improvisational spirit, Exegesis comes off as a jazzier King Crimson, and the musicians used on here are likewise of the highest order. Exegesis boasts of core players Nick Demopoulos on guitar, Danton Boller on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Add the red-hot jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato supplying vocals to a couple of cuts and guest drummers like Mark Ferber, and Exgesis’ newest and second album, The Harmony Of The Anomaly, is an album that demands the attention of anyone into the experimental fringes of rock-jazz.

Demopoulos’ quicksilver geometrical leads stand out from most your typical solos, but often it’s the textures and tones that capture the most attention. Between the more texturally oriented cuts and the math jazz ones, there’s plenty here to absorb and it’s definitely a grower. “Aion” is one of the more jazzier numbers, where Demopoulos’ is in a Pat Martino circa Joyous Lake frame of mind. “Tempunaughts” is a math jazz workout and the trippy “Forgetting Is Remembering” (Youtube below) is highlighted by Fujiwara’s explosive kit work and Parlato’s hypnotic vocals in unison with a computer generated one.

There’s also room in here for the abstract: the three-part “Catastrophe/Revelation” pieces are distinct pieces from each other and spread out over the album. The first part is advanced jazz played by the trio with no technological assists; Part Two is atmospheric, and the last part rocks the hardest, sounding something like what The Police might have played if they had attempted experimental instrumental music.

It’s one of those records where even on the tenth listen there’s a whole bunch of new discoveries that didn’t manifest itself in the first nine. A week from now I could write an entirely different review with the likelihood that I’d be even more enthusiastic about it than I am now. But suffice to say at this point, The Harmony Of The Anomaly is always interesting and often pretty freakin’ amazing.

It’s science. It’s jazz. It’s rock. It’s whack.

It’s Exegesis.

The Harmony Of The Anomaly goes on sale today, courtesy of the Dems Dem’s Demos label. Visit Exegesis’ website..

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst 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. Contact him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews.com.