Tuesday, March 4, 2008

TALIBAM! / LE HARMACY Split (MT5 Tapes)

This Talibam! / Le Harmacy split marks the debut of the, um, "subsidiary" of MT6 Records out of Baltimore. Talibam! are at the top of their usual flailing form on an NYC studio date from late 2006. Most of the side's duration captures the hyper elastic all-guns-blazing improv this trio has become known for over a span of prolific releases and live sets in the last couple years. Matt Mottel conjures a melting Galaga of a spacescape on synth with 8-bit staccatos colliding like trapped Lotto balls. Kevin Shea is unflappable on drums, barely pausing the skittering waves of snare and hi-hat interplay unless unexpectedly dropping into a 4/4 disco stomp (this happens more than a couple times). Ed Bear's sax begins sorely buried in the mix but becomes gradually prominent and the session is better for his angular counterpoint to Mottel. The concluding minutes are somber and reflective as Mottel switches to acoustic piano, Bear dredges up some murky blues and Shea intuitively carries the dialogue with subtle brushwork. A perfect ending.
Le Harmacy could be the unofficial Italian sister band of Talibam!, with Diego Fattori's scratchy and manic guitar replacing Mottel's keys. Nicolo' Fattori trades in the bass for squelching synth on the middle segment but the equipment lacks the dexterity of Lorenzo Senni's drums. After a wailing inertia at the outset, Le Harmacy sound less and less like a Hella-loving rock improv trio as the side progresses, which could be a good thing or not. All the same, a very appropriate matchup and solid opening salvo from MT5.