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2018-09-13

SLY & THE FAMILY DRONE + DEAD NEANDERTHALS - Molar Wrench

Not that it has been too long (the Konstrukt & Keiji Haino double review is still among my recent top posts), but let's go back once again to the lovely genre of extreme free jazz!

Here's something from the Dead Neanderthals I missed last year. Ok, I knew it was out there, but especially when vinyl and international shipping are involved, I just can't order everything I want. But then they recently offered a hefty 30%  discount for their Bandcamp followers, so I took the oppurtunity to grab one of the very last copies of this record.

It's a collaboration with the extremely aptly named Sly & The Family Drone.





SLY & THE FAMILY DRONE + DEAD NEANDERTHALS - Molar Wrench (transparent blue vinyl) (2017)


I'm not that familiar with Sly & Family yet. I probably have seen more - pretty wild - live photographs of them than I've listened to actual tunes. But it's extremely easy to detect that their whole approach is close to that of Dead Neanderthals, as is their instrumentation, which only differs in the way that besides a drummer and saxophone player there also happens to be a vocalist, who is responsible for additional noises / effects as well.

So the premise of this collaboration is basically supersized Neanderthals.

There are passages like the opening minute of the album, where everybody does everything in his power to produce utter chaos, but during the majority of the four tracks playing time there is a controlled rhythm section basis including one of the saxophones functioning as bass, while the other wind player totally freaks out within the higher ranges.

So there are definitely more recognizable song structures than the Dead Neanderthals average on this record. Yet don't let this mislead you - "Molar Wrench" is still absolutely insane, mind-boggling, super-heavy sick shit!

And even though those attributes work for most of the album, each track has a very distinct arrangement and atmosphere. While the A-side with "Ghoul Whispers" and "Muck Man part 1" mainly deals in different flavours of jazz rock on steroids and hard drugs, the B-side begins with an almost ambient mood. The finale of "Muck Man part 2", when the track goes Hulk and escalates in a cacaphony of double-johnzorned grind jazz is one of my personal highlights on this record.

My favorite detail however waits in the closing title track, when someone actually sneaks in a few seconds of "normal" smooth melodic saxophone playing. Now that came unexpected among all the noise torture.


I cannot compare this release with the other works of Sly & The Family Drone, but within the Dead Neanderthals discography this is one of the most diversified offerings.

Of the beautiful transparent blue vinyl version there is recently only the very last of the total three hundred copies left. So go get it!
  


Or settle for the digital version. They are both available on Bandcamp.






Highlights: Molar Wrench, Ghoul Whispers



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