As was the case with guitarist Nick Demopoulos’ brilliant "Harmonic Convergence," reviewed here last year, Exegesis, a quintet lead by the adventurous guitarist (adding dijerido to the mix here), is poised squarely at the bulging edge of the musical comfort zone. The opening "Emergence" spotlights tenor saxophonist Matt Otto in something of a Rollins cast and Demopoulos comping brilliantly underneath. The following "Worlds in Collision," anchored by drummer Greg Gonzales and bassist Greg Gonzales, benefits from tandem sax and guitar lines that float above the rhythm section.
"Andromeda Strain," with the odd synthesized effects, is a sporadic and stuttered pastiche heavy on the bottom while, again, guitar and Shepp-style saxophone work wonders above the churning musical sea. "Peoples of the Sea," with Demopoulos on both guitar and dijerido, builds an interesting droning pattern.
The extemporaneous explorations of "Erg" notwithstanding, the order in this chaos is firmly rooted in the terra and the roots. Over a busy drum motif, the electric guitar sounds like a tightly stretched Charlie Byrd at times. The following "Eon," with and extended R2D2 synthesizer setting the pace, features saxophone and guest drummer Mark Ferber.
"Earth’s Shifting Crust" isn’t as earthquaking as the title suggests. Buoyed by bass and saxophone, it is the lightest piece on the set. The pace is steady and the almost militaristic drum sets a mournful tone. "Footnote," with a synthesized intro that conjures an electronic snowstorm has a vocal recitation that begs comprehension. The closing "Morphology," with a repetitive groove that reminds a bit of John Scofield.
It would be wonderful if there were broader platforms on which to highlight music this adventurous, this bold and this future-focused. Until those perfect radio stations come along, look for this on the occasional college or internet forum. It’s well worth the search.