Experiment jazz and psychedelic rock seem like two opposing destinations but the avant garde duo of Matta Gawa bring these two genres together to make for an agreeable union on their album Ba from Engine Studios. The orchestration of Edward Ricart’s electric guitar with the bare-skinned beating of Sam Rohman’s drumming pervade an otherworldly realm of discourse.
For instance, the droning motor-like moans in the guitar effects brushed across “Dialogue of a Man with His Ba” have a strange resonance which is disarming, drawing the listener into its sieve of combustible sounds and the boppish stylistic clashing of cymbals. The soft tremors of Rohman’s drumming along “Ba’s of Re” create an even rhythmic pulse while Ricart’s guitar garnishes the tracks with razor-sharp spears and squiggling lines. The movements are nomadic yet they move with purpose which Ricart shares with fusion guitarist Jake Hertzog.
Matta Gawa’s medley of bop idioms and sci-fi soundscapes produce subterranean vibrations along “Is a Ba Among You” as phrases seem esoteric and arcane with Ricart and Rohman interacting on a different level of consciousness in the human mind. The complexity of the patterns resemble an electrical grid with crisscrossing and zigzagging lines in “Your Ba is Within You” and raw and irascible sound effects layered with Ricart’s pick slides and suspension of notes with only air underneath them. The notes grumble and growl as they rise and fall, and the echo of a ship’s horn, or at least the sound of one, blaring in the background of the track at the end can be imagined
Matta Gawa have their own definition of what makes avant garde music, and Ba demonstrates their ideas. Their music creates a fertile ground fraught with improvisations and mutable microcosms that are improbable to duplicate. The duo have few equals and can even be described as eccentric, but then, it is human is be eccentric.
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