Jeff Kaiser / Tom McNalley – ZUGZWANG


If you’re an aficionado of strange sounds deriving from normal instruments overprocessed by effects and electronics, this is right up your alley. The “normal instruments”, in this case, are Kaiser’s quarter-tone trumpet and McNalley’s electric guitar, which create a whole range of turbulent emissions throughout the 72+ minutes of the disc, every once in a while sweetened by some sensitive measure of linear phrasing, which comes naturally for Kaiser, as we can guess from the beauty of his regular tone. On the other hand, McNalley often has to resort to some (still pretty noisy) pedal effects in order to apply a lacquer of refined elegance to the few polite sentences that he manages to squeeze among the ultra-crunchy, grinding distortion that characterizes the most unpalatable tracks (this doesn’t mean that they’re not good, only a little difficult to follow if you’re not concentrating). Eleven improvisations, ranging from one and a half minutes to the almost thirteen of the initial, extra complex “Carbon Fianchetto”, in which there’s about as much chance of finding two like sounds as there is of meeting the Dalai Lama at your local McDonald’s. Cerebral, yet substantial stuff. To be swallowed in small doses.


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