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The All Rectangle: Ke Ala Mano (The Way of the Shark)

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The All Rectangle’s music embodies the sound of modern Chicago jazz-rock: funky, spacey, aloof. The trio of bassist Alana Rocklin, drummer Derek Crawford and electronics-effecter Brad “Kali” Bowden exists somewhere among Isotope 217’s electronica-bred funk-jazz and the Chicago Underground Quartet’s modal-oriented jazzisms, Mwandishi-era Herbie Hancock, electric Miles Davis and the ’90s heavy, dark-dub aesthetic favored by Bill Laswell. Ke Ala Mano (The Way of the Shark) is the band’s debut.

Like much of The All Rectangle’s music, “Little Friend” is built on the talented Rocklin’s dreamy repeated electric bass line, which gets mauled and modified but always ends up returning to its ever-descending darkness. Bowden adds discrete ambient effects and gritty electronic buzzes, and Crawford mostly keeps a backbeat, rarely getting on top of the music and pushing it to new energy levels. Further fitting the passivity profile, The All Rectangle is content to let its guest musicians handle most of the solo space as well. Guest soundscrapers include Mark Kirschenman’s remarkable effects-laden, electric-keyboardlike trumpet (who makes it sound amazingly like a Hendrixian whammy-bar guitar dive on “Little Friend”) and, on one track each, saxophonist Frank Catalano and guitarist Fareed Haque. The All Rectangle would do well to draft the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Kirschenman on to its team full time.