By Bradley Bambarger | Published August 2018
Anteloper—a duo project of trumpeter Jaimie Branch and drummer Jason Nazary, both doubling on synthesizers—explores gritty acoustic-electronic soundscapes, with the urban sonic edge complemented by plenty of melodic-textural hooks. This isn’t “jazz,” per se, though it is forward-minded instrumental music made by inventive, jazz-honed improvisers. Branch, boldly expressive on her horn, has ties to the Chicago and New York avant-jazz and indie-rock scenes, crossing from one to the other as a free spirit; her creatively orchestrated debut album, Fly Or Die (Imagination Anthem), garnered substantial praise last year. Nazary, a Brooklyn-based producer and instrumentalist, has a track record of melding the synthetic with the organic from free-jazz to art-rock.
The liner notes for Kudu, by cornetist and fellow sonic adventurer Rob Mazurek, advise, “Listen with eyes closed and don’t move.” The album is indeed an enveloping experience, one to be played from end to end for cumulative impact. Yet, there are apt entry points. Opener “Oryx”—after the glitchy atmospherics of its intro and a section with Don Cherry-like fanfares—boasts a back-half melody that has the pull of a good rock chorus, before Branch’s open horn plays on and around the tune, ornamenting it like a singer. The 15-minute swirl of “Ohoneotree Suite” has a psychedelic Doppler effect, as if the listener were riding by a long row of open windows, with snatches of tunes and rhythms bending the ear one after the other, as they leap out and then fade into blurring, dizzying electro-acoustic texture.
Kudu: Oryx; Fossil Record; Lethal Curve; Ohoneotree Suite; Seclusion Self. (50:04)
Personnel: Jaimie Branch, trumpet, synthesizers; Jason Nazary, drums, synthesizers.