Adam Rudolph might be the leader of the eight-piece Moving Pictures, but the group doesn’t simply serve as a vehicle to spotlight his hand-drum prowess. Granted, “Lehra” presents three minutes of impressive handwork over a groove, recorded in a manner that makes it leap from the speakers. But most of the time Rudolph works as part of the ensemble, which is anchored by bassist Damon Banks, drummer Hamid Drake and James Hurt on additional percussion as well as keyboards.
The electric backdrop (Fender Rhodes, B-3, electric guitar and bass) recalls a more polyrhythmic version of Miles’ electric era, due in no small part to the bright, impassioned cornet of Graham Haynes. Ralph M. Jones acts as his foil, on flutes, soprano and tenor saxophones and bass clarinet, further connecting to the instrumentation of Bitches Brew and stretching the sonic scope. Haynes and Jones also play four interludes throughout the album, some of them discordant, ranging from 21 to 44 seconds.
“Wonderings,” the final full-length track, shows Moving Pictures at its best. After nine minutes of atmospheric keyboard swells and undulating flute melodies, Drake’s cue introduces a forceful polyrhythmic theme. The title track at the front of the album goes for the same impact, but being nearly 14 minutes long, the one-chord groove overstays its welcome. In between, most of the album relies heavily on vamps, which Haynes, Jones and guitarist Kenny Wessel energize, never hindered by treacherous time signatures.