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The Spanish Donkey: Joe Morris, Jamie Saft, Mike Pride: XYX

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Sometimes, it is just easier to let the mind go and be “one” with music rather trying to analyze it. Such is the case with The Spanish Donkey’s XYX. There is so much sound on this recording that finding a resting place is occasional, if simply rare.

Jamie Saft wallows in the electronics that render the sonic configuration complexly integrated. He works with the MiniMoog, Roland Jupiter 6 and SH-09, Korg Lambda and CX3, Yamaha CS-01 and finally the bass guitar. Joe Morris is clearly heard on his electric guitar. And Mike Pride, of course, distinguishes his contributions on drums, percussion and, once, on the nose whistle.

The first track “Mid-Evil” is itself close to thirty-eight minutes long. The music’s patternless linearity opens the doorway to total innovation, where brazen unpredictability decides surprising directions. It is a remarkable phenomenon that musicians on such a large booming scale can keep it together so long that to make music is patently the goal, not just to grow a tone monster which eats time. Rather it is time that is the music’s colleague because development can only happen within it. Sure the drums and cymbals crash in contrast to the bass guitar rumbling so forcefully that Morris’ guitar work sensibly provides breaks before reinvigorating other extended bouts of electronics and drum shapes, reverb, riffing and all. But it is the demanding nature of the sound that communicates its self-reflective, supposedly torturous, message.

The second, “XYX,” boasts enormous bass-ness. It is next to impossible to use conventional language to untangle its purpose. Perhaps the music’s profusion of paradoxically unfettered vitality is the main event, despite the fact that electronic devices predominate as instruments. Saft still drives them, Morris still plucks at his guitar strings and Pride explodes the drumset in acoustic grandeur.

Originally Published