Form and Mess – Form and Mess (2014)

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Formed from the leftovers of Storm And Stress, Form And Mess carries on the former band’s tradition of thriving on the extreme limits of rock and jazz. S&S’s rhythm section of bassist George Draguns and drummer Kevin Shea (Mostly Other People Do The Killing) effectively replaced departed guitarist Ian Williams (Don Caballero) with Philadelphia guitar master Nick Millevoi and gave the group a new name.

Their self-titled debut album is forthcoming September 30, 2014 from Sick Room Records, and it’s everything you’d ever want out of totally improvisational thrash-jazz from guys who are well-versed in this stuff.

On the surface, Form And Mess is similar to Millevoi’s better-known project Many Arms and with the free-form metal and impenetrable harmonics, they do share more than DNA with that other guitar/bass/drums trio. But Shea and Draguns are different animals, and this is the right music for which to bare their fangs.

Though the name is obviously a play on the precedent band, there really is form to this ‘mess.’ “Introduction to Improvisation” Draguns is so closely tracking Millevoi’s every rapid move, it’s almost clairvoyance. Meanwhile, Shea is running around loose, a common theme on this record and Millevoi seems to control the tempo as he slows everything down when he chances upon a riff. “Three Heads” builds from Draguns’ simple but sinister bass riff, with layers of counterpoint and complexity are piled onto it. Millevoi solos ferociously over an insanely dense groove, and that density gradually recedes to make way for his feedback show.

“Appalachian Moonshine Dance” isn’t exactly bluegrass but uses brighter chords than their usual dark fare, and this time, Draguns is locking onto the densely delivered drums while Millevoi shreds in close proximity. Math rock and free jazz take turns overwhelming “Children’s Books About Eugenics” as the three go traipsing through an obstacle course that they make up as they go along and do so with one voice.

Guttural music sounds great only when the practitioners of it are well versed in the language. Form And Mess has from its first shot fired shown a good grasp of this kind of music, just as their pedigree suggests.

*** Purchase Form And Mess here ***

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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