March 1997

Ben Monder Trio
Flux
Songlines

Each loosely bound composition with its staccato effects as performed by Ben Monder's trio of guitar, bass and drums is an excursion toward darker realms of spirit and kaleidoscope. Within the cohesive, well-executed performances, however, an emotional singularity, taut and melancholic, prevails. Flux is thematically elastic, a centerpiece for structure and controlled development. Music of this sort impresses the listener for seeming to proceed inwardly "Muvseevum" and "O.K. Charlie" build in expressionist fashion, but "Food for the Moon" often shifts attention and mood upon nudging an extroverted corner. Jim Black's percussion solo opens the multifaceted sonorities of "Jello Throne." The freefalling "Don't Look Down" and "Lactophobia" with its breakneck pace take us into wow and feedback pyrotechnics. "Propane Dream" is one of three solo performances, this time a ballad; "Orbits" showcases Monder's facility with bass lines and counter-melodies. There's good music on Flux, one at a time.

Originally published in March 1997
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