Cha Cha, Halcyon, and Throwing Chairs

DJ Jonny Blaze, “Cha Cha” DJ Jonny Blaze is looking all the way back to the proto-club house cuts of Cajmere on this one, building his club track on an, indeed, cha-cha horn section, making his latest cut—out of a torrential output—funky as hell. It suffers hugely, however, from the “DJ Jonny Blaze, Blaze One Records” that keeps repeating over the whole damn thing like a promo-version watermark, which would be fine if it was actually a promo version and not just a track publicly posted to SoundCloud. Seriously irritating.

For more information visit soundcloud.com/ djjonnyblaze09.

The Water, “Halcyon” By now there’s not much point in reciting the postrock formula anymore than there is reading off the notes in a blues scale; it is what it is, and its practitioners are well aware they’re treading worn territory. What matters is what’s done with that formula. I’m still not sold on the Water’s total full-length, because it’s not really reaching out much or pushing anything too far; it feels very safe when it’s obvious the Water has talent for miles. At the same time, there’s something about that de rigueur postrockiness that works in the duo’s favor. The Water is after all a duo—drums and guitar mostly—and its postrock winds up being paradoxically minimal, a sort of constantly pushing outward of its own boundaries into these big crushing sounds that let up only in the sense of kinetic energy becoming potential, like a pendulum “chilling out” at the top of its arc, only to regain itself in momentum. And it’s done in a way that feels resolutely “live.” Of the nine tracks on Scandals and Animals, “Halcyon” is one I keep returning to. Something about the pastoral synth that courses in and out, not teasing anything big and crushing but actually just being kind of pastoral. Of course, the song crests and breaks, but you get a cool five minutes of shifting dynamics that actually feel postrock in the sense of making rock music not adhering to rock’s forms—post-postrock you might say.

The Water plays the Metro Gallery March 7. For more information visit thewater.bandcamp.com.

Ghostmode, “Throwing Chairs” “Throwing Chairs” clocks in at over 17 minutes and does it with nary a wank. It starts not so much in jazz at all, but modulated synth tones. A quick, warm melody distorted just so, looping and setting the bed for a most excellent build of vibes and sax over percussion more interested in propulsion than meandering. More and more the song becomes a foam of interlocking rhythms, catching its breath somewhere around the six-minute mark. The track shifts gears again and again, drifting into a rockish interlude even. And then it changes again, all while hanging onto Derrick Michaels’ sax, functioning as something like the song’s narrative force. Not a dull moment. “Throwing Chairs” comes off the debut Ghostmode record of same name, and shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s kept up with the city’s generally thriving world of mutant jazz. But it does kind of make you wish that world would release more actual records.

Ghostmode celebrates the release of Throwing Chairs March 3 at the Windup Space. For more information visit ghostmode.bandcamp.com.

Copyright © 2019, Baltimore City Paper, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Privacy Policy
68°