Lean Left - I Forgot To Breathe

Take two high profile members of the free-jazz scene (sax man Ken Vandermark and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love), mix them with two guitarists from the legendary Dutch punk band The Ex (Andy Moore and Terrie Hessels), and you have a bombastically skronky quartet called Lean Left. I remember being really into the first couple of albums that they released, and this, their 7th LP, opens with all guns firing at once. A jerky, thundering drum groove, phat horns and grating guitar noises fill up every bit of empty sonic space instantly. It's a brutal moment that dies out pretty quickly, but there's still tons of intensity to spare on the remainder of the LP. This being an improv group, the dynamics of sound switch up constantly. There’s plenty of quiet movements and breathing room for each musician to highlight their own specific moments. Ken Vandermark as always, masterfully controls his horns and knows exactly when to wrestle with all the other musicians (so to speak), or take a more reserved approach. Paal gives a fantastic performance as well; powerful and as hard hitting as a metal drummer but with tons of avant flair and technique. Andy and Terrie thoroughly abuse their guitar stings on every song, bringing a much needed, and very refreshing, angular grit and pure noise garnish to the table. It’s a sound I desperately look for with jazz guitars (the less sterile the better in my opinion). You won't find any clean major chords or rudimentary scales here, that's for sure. The talent and improvisational abilities off all these musicians speak for themselves and they play off of each other terrifically. Recommended! (VII)
Check out a track here.