By Michael J. West | Published June 2021
Saint Disruption is a strange concoction. The collective, led by keyboardist John Medeski and faith healer-cum-musician Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, is soul-funk, but also contains large doses of blues, hip-hop, electronica and a soupcon of jazz.
The writing of Rose In The Oblivion is quite belabored. The lyrics are especially grating between pretentious (“What sells for redemption is merely an invention/Of hungry clones, palace drones, to keep the truth away,” and obnoxious (“What am I, the pilot? I ain’t no pilot!”).
Meanwhile, the arrangements are simultaneously flaccid and overblown. “Choke A Man” manages to pack in every moldy blues trope one can imagine, from guitar wankery to churchy organ to gruff-then-wailing vocals, without enlivening any of them.
Bin Hassan’s work goes some distance toward redeeming the album, as does nearly all of Medeski’s keyboard playing. Ultimately, though, it’s only the Medeski completists who will have much use for Rose In The Oblivion.
Rose In The Oblivion: Stories (Birth Of Saint Disruption); Flight 19; Painstorms; Last Poet First Ukhupacha; Instant Gratification; Choke A Man; Thief Of Darkness. (28:32)
Personnel: Personnel: John Medeski, keyboards; Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, percussion (2, 4, 5), drums (3, 4, 6); Mark Wienand, saxophone (1); Duane Simpson, guitar (1, 2, 5, 6); Adam Matar, guitar (2, 5, 6); Michael Hynes, bass, guitar (4, 5); Ted Marks, drums (1, 2, 5–7); River Guerguerian, drums (4); Umar bin Hassan, vocals (1, 3); Agent 23, vocals (1); Debrissa McKinney (2, 4); Datrian Johnson, vocals (2, 4–6); Lyric Jones, vocals (4); Austn Haynes, vocals (4); Kimi Leger, vocals (4, 5); Heather Kabat, vocals (7).
Ordering Info: Ordering info: saintdisruption.com