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Gilad Hekselman: Ask for Chaos (Hexophonic Music/Motéma)

Review of album featuring two trios led by the guitarist

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Cover of Gilad Hekselman album Ask for Chaos
Cover of Gilad Hekselman album Ask for Chaos

Despite its title, Gilad Hekselman’s Ask for Chaos has a tuneful gentleness that may tempt some to presume the music is all surface and not listen any deeper. It’s an understandable reaction, given the amount of electronic effects applied here, but equating processing with a lack of depth is a mistake, because there’s quite a lot going on beneath those burnished textures.

Hekselman fronts two trios here, which requires some adjustment. The first is the gHex Trio, with double-bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Jonathan Pinson. Presumably the name stems from the hexaphonic pickup used for guitar synthesis; certainly Hekselman presents an unusually wide array of timbres and textures with the group, as when the head to “Milton” seems to suggest the addition of piano. But the interplay, particularly between guitar and bass, is surprisingly free, with plenty of prodding from Rosato.

The other trio is ZuperOctave, with Aaron Parks on piano and electronic keyboards and Kush Abadey on drums. As with Parks’ own fusion-ish band Little Big, the textures and grooves draw heavily from R&B, but the melodic and harmonic content is much more complex, often managing to be as demanding as it is pretty. That’s particularly the case with the prog-inflected “Home to You,” but both “VBlues” and the sci-fi-titled “Prologu00001101” demonstrate that these three can put teeth into the music when needed. Still, those with an aversion to ’80s-style clap samples will probably want to skip “Clap Clap.”

Preview, buy or download Ask for Chaos on Amazon!

Originally Published