Cacaw: Stellar Power

With distorted keyboard bass and a heavy backbeat, “Double Dagger” begins Stellar Power somewhere between industrial synth-pop and fusion. However, Landon Knoblock, the visionary keyboardist of the trio CACAW, avoids any potential cheesy pitfalls. He also breaks the mood and tempo with Fender Rhodes runs and employs saxophonist Oscar Noriega (Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Endangered Blood) to act as the cool head between himself and drummer Jeff Davis, who also likes to cut loose. On tracks whose titles and concepts combine romance and outer space, Knoblock conjures the sound of satellite transmissions. He also references backwards techno beats and, toward the end of the album, prods the trio into an electric frenzy not heard since Berne’s Science Friction quartet.