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Todd Clouser: A Love Electric

img  Tobias Fischer

Oft-noisy guitar-jazz for the Touch of Gray set. Berklee-trained Clouser is a Minneapolis native based out of Baja, Mexico, his tastes partial to Monk and 70s rock – Curtis Mayfield, too – in equal measure.

This LP isn’t the smoothest of listens nor does it want to be; in “Meet Me at the Polo Grounds” Clouster’s guitar touches on Dicky Betts, Blue Oyster Cult, Santana and Clapton, settling on John McLaughlin here and there more as a reality check than any sort of desire to chill a bit. It’s loosey-goosey in the vein of old Blue Note stuff, and I mean that, with all due reverence, in an engineering sense; no banks were broken to accomplish this recording, this obvious from the amateurish honking dissonance of the twin trumpets (courtesy Steven Bernstein and Kelly Rossum) at album opener “Serenity Now.”

Monster licks aside, when viewed as a jazz wellspring Clouser’s spirit is refreshingly playful, almost to the point of self-deprecation, and by mixing innovation and pride he leverages the studio’s lo-fi capabilities to create something more authentically 70s than anything I’ve heard recently.

By Eric Saeger

Homepage: Todd Clouser
Homepage: Ropeadope Records

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