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05/02/10

Little Women
Throat I-VII
AUM Fidelity

Underground until 2008, the Brooklyn-based improvisational group, Little Women, debuts a full-length album, lasting a beautifully symmetrical 41:14 minutes, called Throat I-VII. Consisting of alto saxman Darius Jones, tenor sax player Travis LaPlante, guitarist Andrew Smiley and drummer Jason Nazary, this group breaks barriers with its wide-open, potentially controversial, sound exploration.

Pluralistically rich with music that pushes boundaries, this recording radiates formality. The brash noisiness of “Throat I” is planned. Careful attention reveals a definite shape molded by the saxes; the guitar only tangles the sound waves that propel the music’s charge.

Contrary to the surprising first track, with audible inhalation and thoughtful persistence, the saxophones collaborate to create musical lines that follow a gradually evolving vertical and horizontal topography or perform as drones for the guitar in single and multiple note repetitions and phrasings. The overly electronic riffing from the guitar seems to stir up chaos; but the horns often harmonize or work with it contrapuntally to keep it real. Overwhelmingly the main instrument in this recording, the guitar is played skillfully and peacefully in “Throat V,” its essence revealed.

The centerpiece, “Throat IV,” begins as a ballad sung by the two horns. With the drums’ sleek entrance, the piece picks up speed. As the guitar folds into the line, clearly note by note with the drums rattling in the background, the melodic nature of the piece transforms. The guitar’s injection of multi-directionality destroys the melodic tendencies that the horns try to reconstruct, only with dissonant and abstruse success. In the end, all the instruments ironically synchronize.

The concept of this record revolves around simplicity of statement, even though at first listening it sounds extremely complex. The purely vocal and guttural “Throat VII,” bordering on being out of tonal step, imitates a dynamic intention of the preceding instrumental music.

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