Agitated Atmosphere: Jailbreak – The Rocker


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 pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound such as those of Jailbreak.

Agitated Atmosphere has made no bones about the abundant talents of Chris Corsano (and if you don’t believe us, check him out when he is joined by C. Spencer Yeh and local avant superstars Wally Shoup and Bill Horist February 18th at The Sunset Tavern for the 25th Annual Seattle Improvised Music Festival). He is master and commander behind his kit, treating the heads of snares and toms like the pots and pans of exuberant childhood. Why we have yet to touch on the talents of Heather Leigh is inconclusive.

The duo of Leigh and Corsano has joined like Voltron to form Jailbreak. The tangled mess of pedal steel guitar and drums that aptly rock the two sides of The Rocker, their debut LP released via Family Vineyard is the sort of din that only noise enthusiasts could love. This is not the sly pedal work of Mississippi Delta kings, co-opted for the tame indie audiences of modern consumerism; THIS is the stuff that punctures eardrums, rattles brains, and shatters spines. The Rocker could not be more appropriately named as the album’s two lengthy jams ground and pound from the drop of the needle.

Preview an excerpt of “Sugar Blues” (MP3):

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“Brought Down” and “Sugar Blues” share the same motif of destruction; taking the simple concepts of melody and ripping them into little pieces of erratic slides and hilting cymbal crashes. Paired with the vibrant wails of Leigh, the tracks take on a primal quality as if these songs have spent years clawing their way out of Leigh’s vocal chords. The songs have a life all their own, as Corsano and Leigh fight to keep up with the frequent spurts of creation that spew forth from their frail bodies. That music so heavy comes from two stick figures is further testament to the dedication to their craft. The Rocker balances the desires of chaos with the artistic flourishes of meddled musicians. Every once in awhile we need an in-your-face moment to get the blood flowing and the body moving — meet that aggressive animal head on when vinyl meets turntable.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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