The latest release from the Thirsty Ear Blue Series is entitledANTIPOP CONSORTIUM vs. MATTHEW SHIPP. This recording is not about "vs.", abattle of the bands. The recording reveals a dualism not unlike dissonancejuxtaposed with harmony. And the "vs." becomes a state of amalgamation,blending and no conflict.
Recordings can document popular culture in ways that are a completeflop and in ways that are not. This recording consolidates hip-hop, as inrap, antipop, as in rap and avant garde jazz, as in creative improvisedmusic, into one. After listening to it at least ten times, the musicgrabbedme and it dawned on me after it had finished playing: there is just notenough of it.
Not for the faint of ear or the devotee of the mainstream of jazz orhip hop. These two groups of musicians have achieved their goal ofemphasizing one kind of music as it is in relation to other, thereforemakingboth more visible in the contrast/concern for black culture.
The electronics make perfect sense for the recording’s contemporarynature. Comparatively, the roster of acoustic musicians, constituted by someof the best players of vanguard jazz music, makes perfect sense in terms ofhow the group claims the freedom for the music they play. The effect andintention of rap is to make statements that are direct and nearlyemotionless, yet, narrowly soulful, about the events of everyday life, tothepoint of becoming poetry. Vanguard jazz in the best sense is reputedlyaimed, moreover, at being completely soulful, a testament to innersensibility and true to the extensions of the form of musical expression.Combined, the two kinds of music upend each other and arrive at beingsymphonic.
Certainly, all the musicians are recognizable and maintain theirsignature temperaments. Their performances are extremely involving. No onetakes away from the strength of another. This recording will no doubt raisesome ruckus. As well it should. The character of its originality isoff-putting. But, hey, what invention is not met with skepticism first crackout of the barrel?
Who cannot appreciate Brown’s valiant downright powerful drumming,Shipp’s impenetrable chords, Jamal’s effulgent fanaticism with the vibes,Parker’s ineradicable tonal pizzicato pacing, Carter’s seldom heard trumpetoverdrive and the Antipop Consortium’s startling placed electronicpercussion, turntable scrapes, and sterling vocals. Listening to thisrecording, really listening, not scanning it, is crucial. Check out Track#3.It says it all. I am hooting.