As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to shed a bit of light and share a bit of information on the up and coming sounds of artists such as Talibam!.
The moment Boogie in the Breeze Blocks begins with a conversation between Matthew and Kevin of Talibam! and a police dispatcher, you’re already sucked in with the unabashed excitement from the boys. When “Predetermined to the Master Plan” bursts into your home, it is with a chaotic smash of sticks, snares, and ivories that the sirens roar and the mission to save our engorged craniums from their cramped quarters begins.
Boogie in the Breeze Blocks, recently released via free jazz and underground mainstay ESP-Disk, continues the long line of boundary shredding that has long been the calling card of the New York-based label in its nearly 50 years of existence. For those who fear modern jazz and it’s often extravagances of run-on thoughts and large-lunged torchbearers, the stick and move strategy of Talibam! will be the sort of rabbit punch you’ll gladly absorb. Boogie in the Breeze Blocks is one thought moving into another without a breath, yet each is clearly defined and never weighed down by philosophical ennui or the uptight professorial tone that has led to too many 15-minute solos without a purpose. Talibam! operate like two children with ADHD but with the wherewithal to contain creative bursts rather than spray their wares over an ill prepared crowd; think Robin Williams in his prime, keeping the crowd always on guard--not Gallagher hammering fruit over a crowd all too familiar with what’s going to happen at the end of the evening.
Talibam! venture up and down every block of jazz’s past, present, and future, dragging out every inspirational sound to repurpose as their own. After the whirlpooling madness of “Predetermined to the Master Plan,” the group settles into more traditional sounds with “Ghost Cloud,” before venturing into “Maggot Brain” spin-off, “Entertaining the After Beast.” If you’ve ever dreamt of a Rolling Stones and Charles Schultz mash-up, allow the perfectly titled “Schroeder Meets Jagger” to fulfill your dreams, as a strutting synth melody is meet with cartoonish interludes that pervert the innocence of Peanuts alongside Jagger’s infamous caterwaul. And all these mini-symphonies are coated in a thick shell of moog and synth, as if to challenge the notion that jazz is all brass and Hammond.
Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up and Thursday edition of Song of the Day for the KEXP Blog. You can now follow him on Twitter.