The colorful mosaics that graffiti artists produce is tantamount to what drummer-composer Tim Kuhl does in his music. His second release as a leader, King has a kinetic force that radiates warmth and chilling climates, compelling saxophone and guitar riffs to combust and spray embers through the melodic channels like shards of glass. He delivers on his promise to give audiences music that is fresh and fraught with activity and King supplies that, with music for both rock and modern jazz fans alike.
Kuhl composes music that is a genesis of rock, modern jazz and chamber music. He weaves abstract patterns by crashing the instrument’s fangs into each other and generating disoriented phrases along the melodic passages of "The Opposition" locking into moments of friction and dissonance. Other times, the patterns are tuneful, roomy and mesmerizing, like in "Kiss Of Death." As the listener goes deeper into the album, it is like delving deeper into Kuhl’s mind, experiencing how his thoughts operate and can be swayed by fragments of intercepting happenings. The zing and pageantry in the title track is lavishly ornate and the modern jazz style of the horns along "Stars" is reflective of Ornette Coleman with a contemporary flare. The taut winding of the guitar chords played by Nir Felder and Ryan Macktaller surge through the compositions like rocket boosters, infusing the tunes with moxie and stimulating a rush of energy.
Though Kuhl is a strong drummer, having studied every mallet instrument known to mankind since high school, his greatest strength lies in his ability to compose original tracks with a lot of meat on them. He demonstrates a breadth of songwriting that is laudable and combines factions of rock, jazz and chamber music as if they all come from the same family. This may be a reflection of his own musical experiences, having played drums in a number of different outfits based in experimental rock, modern jazz and chamber music. King is Kuhl’s follow up to his debut album Ghost from 2003. Kuhl shows that he is an avant-garde performer who goes where other composers fear to tread.