Thursday, August 16, 2012

Big Plastic Finger Launching The Tone Arm 2012

Be the ball Noonan...Expanding the musical horizon can be a scary and at times difficult thing but I am reminded of the scene in A Color Of Money when after hustling Paul Newman the character played by Forest Whittaker said he does things "just for the experience." Not a bad way to go when you think about it...

Bonnie Kane is part of a fearsome foursome of sonic warriors to push the musical envelope if not your cerebral cortex with Big Plastic Finger. Critical terms or explanations such as "experimental" and "avaunt-garde" were essentially ripped off from the art community as most music critics did not have the slightest clue as to the musical direction or statement that artists such as Albery Ayler, Ornette Coleman or some of the more free form John Coltrane were trying to make. Rock fusion was a nice term to apply to artists including Frank Zappa so as to neatly categorize him for sake of marketability. Again, they call it the music business for a reason. Do I know the theory behind Big Plastic Finger and Launching The Tone Arm? I can give you an absolute maybe.

I think their own explanation would be appropriate. Earth shaking grooves, an edge sharp enough to carve a roast with, a sonic ambiance from days gone by and feedback used for effect - not as a crutch. Textured layers of a sonic excursion into the unknown. Improvisational fury run wild and that can be a beautiful thing. A stereotypical review does not seem to work as well as the music defies genre, convention, accepted or more commonly played form and functionality of the traditional jazz world. The most intriguing aspect to the improvisational music contained here is that there is something new one discovers with each subsequent spin of the disc.

Working the sonic highwire without a net can be a dangerous thing. This is also how wondrous discoveries are made in the world of making music or any art for that matter. Bonnie Kane is a fierce tenor player that reminds me of one of the better free jazz players in Ivo Perelman. Drummer Mark McClemens is a composer and multi-instrumentalist that boasts stints with Blue Oyster Cult and Master of Reality on his resume. Brian McCorkle rounds out the rhythm section as the type of bass player whose multi dimensional approach works no matter where the tune may be headed. Scott Prato is an exploratory type guitarist that much like Kane is a fearless instrumentalist that brings a Frank Zappa like vibe to this most eclectic of ensembles.

Space jazz? Free jazz on steroids? There are no self imposed limitations placed on this quartet. A sonic exploratory of textured harmonics...just the ones your music teacher forgot to mention.

Tracks: Winnebago Man; Things We Don't Want To Admit Are True; Reason Has No Place; Finding A Good Use For The Growing Pile; Assembly Of Presence; Low Together; Moving Through Walls; Live New Questions.

Personnel: Bonnie Kane: saxophone, flute, electronics; Brian McCorkle: bass, vocals, electronics; Mark McClemens: drums; Scott Prato: electric guitar, electronics.