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July/August 2007

Sonic Liberation Front
Change Over Time
High Two

Change Over Time takes on multiple meanings in Sonic Liberation Front’s third album (their second for High Two). Only three members on the Philadelphia outfit’s 2004 Ashé A Go-Go have returned for the new session. Eight new musicians drop by, including alto saxophonist Julian Pressley (recently heard with Odean Pope’s Saxophone Choir), bassist Matt Engle and saxophonist Dan Scofield, the latter two players of the Philly quartet Shot x Shot and solid writers to boot. The title also encompasses the array of percussion that pulses each track. A diagram in the liners details all the players and exotic instruments (okonkolo, kinkini) heard on each track. Polyrhythms fly at various angles during the course of a song, yet the group underpins it all with incisive harmonic movement and changes that never let up.

Percussionist Kevin Diehl, an SLF mainstay, penned most of the tunes, which variously feature strong alto/trumpet harmonies, hypnotic grooves and some electronic breakdowns. “First Rain” has overlapping horn discussions and drums that evoke the various patterns that a cloudburst would unleash on the roof and gutters. Scofield and Engle hotwire some beautiful free melodies to the proceedings, which should earn the group some high praise on year-end lists—and that’s no exaggeration.

Originally published in July/August 2007
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