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Tambora by Matta Gawa

Based in Washington D.C., the musicians bring varied experience to the table amid stints with notable free-jazz artists, nouveau rockers, and prominent jazz-based improvisers. The duo's second album is an exploratory, yet affable excursion into parts unknown via the improvisational nature of the program. With fuzz-toned atmospherics, staggered flows and fleeting themes, the music offers a hearty forum for one's imagination to wander. However, there's uncanny logic within the grand schema, often devised on loosely based storylines, linear choruses and blitzing interchanges.

Guitarist Edward J. Ricart offers a multilayered view by sporting a big sound, largely modeled with distortion techniques and maniacal chord voicings. With drummer Samuel T. Lohman's asymmetrical grooves, the duo occasionally sparks notions of a free-form slant on vintage King Crimson. But they succeed at presenting an expansive sound within a broad realm of intriguing notions.

Ricart's phased-out harmonics, torrid crunch chords and Lohman's off-centered backbeats are designed with guerrilla tactics amid the former's Jimi Hendrix style flurries. They execute a frothy and at times storming rhythmic structure, treated with angst and terror, but offer diverse angles and a memorably melodic hook on the cyclical, "Musth." And the musicians project a semi-ethereal backdrop during "Sky," where the guitarist's twirling notes and edgy overtones are driven home by the drummer's brawny cymbals swashes.

Matta Gawa merges a broad vista and is a fun listening experience to complement the cerebral characteristics that sustains interest on repeated spins. There's a method to the madness, underscored with a take no prisoners approach, although the oscillating ebbs, flows, and surfeit of cunning persuasions yield rewarding results.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Matta Gawa
  • CD Title: Tambora
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: New Atlantis Records
  • Musicians: Edward J. Ricart (guitar), Samuel T. Lohman (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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