November 2005

Chromosome Gun

Chromosome Gun begins with a bang, a detuned guitar clang, a power drone, a truculent blast of clarinet and alto sax-and it gets progressively more intense thenceforth. Norway's Ultralyd believe in assaulting the listener from the get-go, so track one, "Beautor," finds Frode Gjerstad going banshee-mad in the upper registers of his sax, blowing white-hot streamers of sinuous intensity. Drummer Morten Olsen slams his skins with a kineticism that's equal parts Keith Moon and Han Bennink. The chaostrophic guitar-and-bass interplay of Anders Hana and Kjetil Brandsdal busts blood vessels like Japanoise extremists High Rise. One song of this stuff leaves you drained. But there are six more tracks, masochists.

"Pink Mood" finds Ultralyd churning out a noise-jazz-rock inferno that gives Tony Williams Lifetime a run for its raucous fury. Gjerstad looses torrents of apocalyptic air pressure that recall late-era John Coltrane. However, Ultralyd is not all about swarming density. In "Ejaculatorium," the quartet gets sparse, if no less visceral, with Gjerstad squealing on the clarinet and Hana emitting shrieking feedback in a duet of rococo brutality. But "Glottality" really typifies Ultralyd's m.o.: It's an adrenalized rhino charge of noise rock made for power tripping.

Chromosome Gun is power jazz with all neuron receptors firing at maximum intensity-or rhythm & bruise.

Originally published in November 2005
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