Rob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra, “The Arc of Slavery #72” (2015): Something Else! sneak peek

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Fresh off of introducing a new, mind expanding/mind blowing ensemble, Rob Mazurek has rekindled his acclaimed Exploding Star Orchestra project. On May 26, 2015, Mazurek and ESO through Cuneiform Records will unleash the Orchestra’s 4th album Galactic Parables: Volume 1.

Featuring once again a stellar cast of improvisers like Nicole Mitchell (flute), Chad Taylor (drums) and some of the guys from post-rock kings Tortoise, Galactic Parables: Volume 1 promises more raucous beauty and the seemingly impossible task of outdoing themselves.

An advance track “The Arc Of Slavery #72” streams above, suggesting that the cornetist’s vision of an intergalactic collision between Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago remains as sharp as ever. That begins with overlapping, metaphor-rich spoken stanzas about slavery, strongly recalling the Afro-centric political activism of the Art Ensemble. Mazurek’s introduction of the hypnotic theme presages a launch into the main body of the performance anchored by groovalicious, electric circular bass line. Atari-era synth gurgles swirl around a dense, jungle rhythm, and a breakdown moment has Mazurek competing for attention with a rock guitar and R2D2 chatter. When drums return, it sounds even more forceful than before, threatening to steamroll over anything in its way.

Mixing the opaque with the diffused and blurring the lines between electric and acoustic, Rob Mazurek’s wide ambition continues to race toward the outer limits of what is possible in music. Songs like “The Arc Of Slavery #72” skillfully uses the cutting edge of the outskirts of jazz from the 60s and 70s as a springboard to propel forward well into this 21st century.

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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