By Ivana Ng | Published April 2020
Restless yet methodical, CP Unit’s latest record is a compact exploration of experimental jazz, prog-rock and punk themes. Each song showcases the breadth of the quartet’s instrumentation and its array of inspirations, from Ornette Coleman’s experimental funk to the freneticism of Guerilla Toss, an art-rock band that counts CPU guitarist Sam Lisabeth in its ranks.
“One Foot On The Ground” starts with an extended bluesy solo by Lisabeth and steadily builds to sultry melodic lines and heady rhythms. Bandleader and alto saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos is a commanding presence amid the simmering blues percussion, his horn forceful and deliberate. The quartet’s improvisational energy becomes more cohesive and focused on “Sibylant,” Jason Nazary’s drums building heat as Lisabeth and bassist Henry Fraser delve deeper into industrial noise motifs. Dark and organic, “Tarpit” is a dizzying call-and-response between saxophone and guitar that crescendos, then breaks into full-on punk hijinks. The latter half of the album seems to be more of what CPU is known for—multidimensional textures, prog-rock complexity and cultivated jazz improvisation. It was a meandering journey, but the quartet eventually gets there.
One Foot On The Ground Smoking Mirror Shakedown: One Foot On The Ground; Orelius; Sibylant; Tarpit. (32:35)
Personnel: Chris Pitsiokos, alto saxophone, electronics; Sam Lisabeth, guitar; Henry Fraser, electric bass; Jason Nazary, drums, electronics.