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Published: 2006/07/19
by Randy Ray

Husky – Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet

Hyena Records 9349

Husky is solid, late at night, muggy, window completely open, pre-Bitches Brew ’60s avant-garde jazz music that demands a whacked-out imagination and a love for Ritalin. Fortunately, neither the heat nor the weird factor is a bad thang in this zip code. With appropriately subtle titles like “Go to Hell, Mr. Bush,” “Fry His Ass” and “Daddy Won’t Taint Bye-Bye,” the ten instrumentals also share a common mix of clever musical wit and construction. Galactic guru and N’Awlins drum kingpin Stanton Moore’s mentorship is all over this music but, again, that ain’t necessarily a negative comment. In fact, the Tennessee Williams 1940s milieu fits these 21st century mindfucks just fine.

“The Third Rail” enters a Middle Eastern drone via the Sunset Strip before chucking the trance for a ballsy sideways shimmy through an innertube of funk mixed with hangdog soul. This opening salvo serves as a heady overture to an original blend of post-acid jazz. The aforementioned “Fry His Ass” fries thy noodle in 10:10 with cat-clearing-the-room theatrics that are both ingenious and somehow late period Coletranesque spacey melodic. I almost expect Elizabeth Taylor to turn the corner of the room and crawl the dark walls with her tits falling to-and-beautiful-fro out of her skin-tight white dress. Then again the sax sort of amps the ethereal Viagra needle past eleven as the tempo rises-and-falls at the drop of a black Beatnik hat with every passing minute.

This vibe feels like the lost soundtrack music from a David Lynch version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof starring Crispin Glover and Amanda Plummer — and I do mean that in a very cool Ornette Coleman way-out-in-deep fucking space manner. Alto and baritone saxes, flutes, trombones, trumpets, tenor sax and the beloved Hammond spin a tailin particular, the horns are wailing completely out of control and the piano is reining in the madness like a sexed-up Nurse Ratchett from a latter period Cuckoo’s Nest. There even appears to be some sort of weird random tap dancing or someone fucking with my headphones with a really bizarre hand clap that works very well, indeed.

The rest of the album isn’t nearly as trippy or freaky but with this level of improvisatory invention, why quibble about specific epic peaks? Find your own in this quixotic adventure. Have another espresso and continue listening. “Song for Bad” slows everything down as the horns slide into a smooth space filled with the spaghetti language of the Hammond abetting the percussion. This is a standout track for keyboardist Joe Doria but it is also the most sublime performance for the septet as they forego the transitory strange for a slow foggy waltz. “Summer Pudding,” like many of the tracks, lives up to its humorous designation by spinning Steely Dan on its head and unfurling a headbanging groove that wrestles with as many as four simultaneous melodies at once like the Grateful Dead, circa-1972 turning on a dime in multiple directions. “Daddy Won’t Taint Bye Bye” is Buckethead pumped through a Hammond organ and a few dozen other sound effects. Think Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey on Mars while a comet orbits Venus and you get the psychedelic picturea cloudy beaut amongst many late eve humid wall climbers. In other wordsheat is IN and Bush is OUT so throw on the soundtrack to our surreally fucked-up times.

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