One Track Mind: John Paul Jones’ Minibus Pimps, “Superbolt” from Cloud To Ground (2014)

John Paul Jones always brought an avant-garde bent to his work with Led Zeppelin, something he’s more fully exploring with Helde Sten on their outlandishly named, and even more outlandishly conceived new Minibus Pimps project.

Working with Sten, an experimentalist from Norway, seems to have encouraged Jones to move so far afield of his most famous musical impulses that the results on “Superbolt” — issued vai SusannaSonata as part of Cloud to Ground — sometimes don’t sound like music at all.

After an initial period of diffused noise, a sound that approximate the birds from “Tomorrow Never Knows” being caught up in an air-raid drill, “Superbolt” builds into a smeared roar — fiery and consumptive, so apocalyptic that it ends up sounding somewhat peaceful. From there, “Superbolt” descends into an ambient, free-form rumination, even as the circuitry continues to crackle and pop with the spent energy of what came before.

Then there’s only a teeth-splintering hum, as “Superbolt” recedes into an enveloping scent of ozone — the product of an inventive custom-built collection of computer-generated electronics including samplers and iPads, as well as more traditional instruments.

Partners in musical crime since 2011, Jones and Sten are exploring the wild untamed frontiers between composed and improvised music, and between what we know and what is still to be found.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.