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Bedrock: Shelf-Life

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In the land of Bedrock, groove is always king, but any specific groove’s hold on power is short-lived. Uri Caine (keyboards), Zach Danzinger (drums and percussion) and Tim Lefebvre (bass and guitar) obviously love the sweaty, cheesy music of the 1970s: “Blakey” is perfect theme music for an imaginary cop show, and the strut of “Shish Kebab Franklin” could have powered the stride of any down-and-out cinematic hero who still holds his head high. But on Bedrock’s second recording, appropriately titled Shelf-Life, the band’s restless musical imagination (along with a phalanx of talented guests like trumpeter Ralph Alessi and percussionist Arto Tuncboyaciyan) spurs them to keep the funk ever-fresh.

Bedrock’s methods are diverse: Melodic elements buried in busy textures rise to prominence, rhythms lose steam and get supplanted by faster beats, clouds of electronic sparks rise from the flint of rock-solid bass, whole pieces fall off the beam before finding a new balance. Yet the tapestries of sound are unfailingly seductive in their synthesized way, whether burning with chalky keyboard runs on “Strom’s Theremin” or chilling with deep bass on “Bauwelklogge,” and no matter how much the rhythms mutate, they stay hot and humid like summer. True, it would be tough to dance to Shelf-Life, but it’s also tough to stop listening to it.