Thom Gossage Other Voices – In Other Words (2011)

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As an aside within my review of Steve Raegele’s mind blowing debut album Last Century I went into the bands Raegele had participated in and noted “I can’t say I’ve heard of these names previously, but the (Thom) Gossage (Other Voices) tracks I just sampled make me want to hear more from him. It’s a little avant garde, too, but nothing compared to what Raegele is puttin’ down.” I finally got to hear more recently when the Canadian drummer, composer and bandleader Gossage released his 5th album under the Other Voices moniker. And sure enough, it validated my curiosity.

Montreal-based Gossage, who played drums on and produced the Raegele record, might not be quite as far out sonically as his guitar player, but In Other Words has no shortage of outside-of-the-box thinking. Gossage does us the courtesy to explain in the liner notes exactly how he created and guided the music on this album, but the key phrase he made is “I deliberately set out to create accidents and embrace where they led me.” In other words, he sets up the plot, puts it in motion, and leaves it up to the band to determine the outcome. In addition to Raegele, who is actually the newest member of the band when he joined in ’05, there’s Miles Perkin on bass, Frank Lozano on tenor and soprano sax, Rémi Bolduc on alto sax and Gossage on drums, percussions and electronics. With such long associations, Gossage can trust his band to rely on their intuitions to take any song to where they feel it going.

Some songs just evolve and mutate, like “Id Est (In Other Words),” while others have parts colliding with each other, as in “Counter Counter Clockwise,” and others just float along as tonal points become more important than conventional melody (“Inari”). “Ab Infra (From Within)” is the cut most like Raegele’s own music, perhaps not surprisingly because his Frisell/Ribot styled phrasing is very prominent on that song. This time, though, he has the benefit of Lozano and Bolduc as sparring partners. In addition to being an effective bandleader, Gossage is very intense when it comes creating the right timbres and sonic backdrops, using all the tools at his disposal from his arsenal of drums, percussion and electronic effects.

On In Other Words, spontaneity and contemplation meet in the middle, and sometimes battle it out. When the sparks fly, unpredictable and creative music is made.

In Other Words was released October 11 by Songlines Recordings. Visit Thom Gossage’s website.

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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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