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CD Feature/ Rent Romus' Lords of Outland: "Culture of Pain"

img  Tobias

This is not a „Free-Jazz“ album, because there is no such thing. If nothing is set, then everything is possible and how can everything be subsumed under a single word? Rent Romus and the Lords of Outland are again following in the footsteps of Albert Ayler, a man whom few understood because he spoke a different language alltogether – or a more advanced one for which we will need adhanced ears to be able to truly hear. There are five years between “Avatar in the Field” (the group’s previous effort) and “Culture of Pain” and in the meantime the former has even managed to sell out. And yet, this record still sounds as confounding, confusing, intoxicating and exhilarating as anything you’ve ever hard.

The reason is simple: “Culture of Pain”, with its plethora of simultaneously stirring lines, mirrors the world around us and offers equal reason to be loved and hated. After all, music and “art” in general are, by general agreement, tools of abstraction and complexity-reduction. Their aim is to unveil a certain aspect of the world around us and make it tangible in order to enhance our knowledge and understanding. Romus’ ensemble, however, shows us not a detail but a whole chunk of reality, with all of its contradictions, confluencies and its methodical crazyness. The drums rattle and roll along like a jealous steam engine cheated on by a cheap electric train, the bass pushes and grooves in a nervous fit and up to three different winds at a time scream, stutter and blow their lungs out in sterturous voices. In one instance, the sax and piano exchange thematic ideas, at another it’s the rhythm section against the melody, then again things start in disarray and end in a swooning solo. The inclusion of C.J. Reaven Borosque’s elecronics adds an apocalyptic deepness and blackness to the line-up: “Dark Transection” is almost pure Industrial and “Saints” a futuristic “Blade Runner”-instrumental with Romus gliding through waves of acid debris like the moon probe hovers the lunar surface in “2001”. Yes, everything is possible here, but that does not mean it’s all happening at once – there is ample structure to be found here, in fact the sheer innumerability of surprising structures only adds to the album’s appeal. If you can keep up with it, that is: There is no moment of rest nor of creative fatigue – once this machine has started, there is no turning back.

Again, I don’t believe in a term like “Free Jazz”. This is not about “just playing what you like”, just like you can not just randomly select an ensemble of musicians and come up with similar results. It is about the courage, mutual trust and telepathic talent to engage in a musical conversation, which redefines its rules in every single second. The result is neither chaos, nor anarchy but rather a plentitude of parallel developments, which converge and diverge in a neverending process. The trick, of course, is to find your little island amidst the storm - once you’re settled, you’ll see the beauty of it all.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Rent Romus at MySpace
Homepage: Edgetone Records

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