Dead Neanderthals – Worship the Sun (2015)

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Don’t be fooled by the name – Dead Neanderthals are neither dead nor Neanderthal. What they are is a tight, energy driven cohort of musicians who know how to lay down a good vibe. Worship the Sun, due on September 11, 2015 via Relative Pitch Records, sees Rene Aquarius on drums and Otto Kokke on sax get together for a lesson in genial, improvisational mayhem.

There are just two tracks — the first over 15 minutes and the second just a tad over 17. “Worship,” the first track, is a percussive delight, interspersed with some screaming, devilish sax from Otto Kokke’s sax ascending ever upwards over Aquarius’ manic, thrumming drums which are relentless in their speed and variation. The drums provide an incessant backdrop against which Kokke pushes his sax to its limits in many directions, dipping and soaring through the upper registers sounding like a manic bird trapped against glass. The precision is almost perfect.

“The Sun,” Dead Neanderthals’ second track on Worship the Sun, is 17 minutes plus of more extensive and delicious communication between sax and drums. What makes it special is the middle section, where the sax soloes with the lightest of drums and cymbals underneath and a few darker images are conjured up with the introduction of deeper percussive notes. Then it is a return to the drum supported sax over blowing and extending the range as far as possible, driving, ascending, ever upwards until almost impossible notes are achieved.

Worship the Sun is different from previous Dead Neanderthals releases in that it is just the two musicians unaugmented by any of their often used additions. Also, unlike Prime or Dietary Restrictions, there is more control here — which makes for cohesion and a very engaging tightness.

Focused, driven and reaching out to anyone who enjoys improvised music, Dead Neanderthals’ Worship the Sun is simple, coherent and above all, fun.

Sammy Stein

Sammy Stein

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Sammy Stein

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