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01/07/13

Sonic Liberation Front
Jetway Confidential
High Two

For all the cunning with which they assemble it, Sonic Liberation Front’s musical patchwork still feels like a mess. But it’s a glorious, enchanting mess. Boasting a range of guests and instruments (especially horns and percussion) so complex it literally requires a chart to explicate, the Philadelphia quintet and friends burn through—among others—drone grooves (“Umami”), homages to Sun Ra (“Jetway Confidential No. 3”) and Morton Feldman (“One Two”), frenzied free jazz (“OneTwoThree”) and traditional Santerian chants (“Yemaya”) with relish, imagination and a fair bit of noise. It’s tied together, however, with SLF’s trademark Afro-Cuban percussion and multilayered rhythm, which weaves a mesmerizing thread through this sundry collection of wonders. It’s among the year’s greatest excitements.

Originally published in December 2012
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