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CD Feature/ C.O.M.A.: "Ornamental Urban Shrubbery"

img  Tobias

‚COMA dedicates this music to everything of quality that goes unnoticed by most and appreciated by way too few.’

This statement introduces the playlist of this musical adventure: The CD ‘Ornamental Urban Shrubbery’, performed by the COMA musicians John Vaughn, Zone and Dax Compise. Before commenting about the music, there needs to be a short introduction about these inventive virtuosos of intelligent new music:

All of them have a great history, great experience and show great mastership of their instruments, ranging from percussions, saxophone, electric cello and bass, and even the theremin. But, most importantly, they all seem to have an equally great desire to create new ways of improvisation and experiments. This CD is proof of that desire, and let me now talk about it in detail:

First off, there is a common ground, a platform this music is using, and it is fairly and squarely rooted in the realms of jazz and blues music. Rhythms are and remain rhythms, there are few if any flights into real ‘chaos’, some pillars always remain and provide this music with a certain frame. That doesn’t mean that these sounds are not experimental, because indeed, they are. Inside the boundaries of the jazz and blues cornerstones, there is a movement that can hardly be categorized. Sounds fly about like sparrows in a corn mill, extremely punctuated, very expressive and technically challenging the utmost mastery of the musicians.

Going back and forth, these themes are varying, seemingly like the shenanigans of a wild and uncontrolled yoyo, moved by its player in full force, until we hear track seven of this CD: Taciturnity Master. Here, we get back to the bottom, to the very roots of the musical world. Clearly jazzy, with references to a quiet, sombre atmosphere, no wild rants, no technical stunts, just plain quiet music. A clear and well defined counterpoint to the loose and unregulated musical turbulence we have heard before.

This is even being topped by the last track on this CD, called ‘Diacoustical Muzzle’. When expecting some turmoil, there are instead well selected harmonic sounds, set in an evenly, well defined rhythm, properly and quietly finalizing this journey into an old and well known world that unexpectedly offers insides of some entirely new and unknown spheres. It’s comparable to someone, who has never seen and experienced an eclipse of the sun, and all of a sudden finds himself in the middle of it.

One more thing has to be explained: COMA means, in this context: The ‘California Outside Music Associates’. I honestly think they are not positioned so very far outside as it seems. They are truly bridging worlds of music traditions. And their work may be even more important, at least at this point of musical history, than others, who do not combine the experimental with the traditional.

I don’t mean this to be understood in terms of value, I say this because COMA helps people understand, thus enabling them to connect to new musical ways in a clearly defined way, lifting the burden of being forced to jump headfirst into the cold waters of the unknown. By doing so, more people may be attracted to experimental excursions and learn to develop a close connection and unbiased relationship to new musical expressions. Truly a great achievement. 

By Fred M. Wheeler

Homepage: Edgetone Records

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