Made To Break: Lacerba (CF 274)
“Lacerba” was the name of an Italian literary magazine that wanted to spread the ideas of futurism, a movement emphasizing and glorifying issues associated with concepts concerning the future – including technological progress, youth and violence. The most famous authors were Giovanni Papini and Ardengo Soffici but Tommaso Marinetti, Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire and Stéphane Mallarmé were also among the contributors. Futurist music claimed to reject tradition and introduced experimental sounds inspired by machinery, it was mainly set against backwardness and mediocrity. One of the most prominent figures, Luigi Russolo, published The Art of Noises which became something like a guideline for the musical aesthetics of the movement. Russolo defined instruments as acoustic noise generators so that he can pay homage to, include or imitate machines – his ideas influenced Stravinsky, Edgar Varèse, Stockhausen and John Cage.
Ken Vandermark (reeds) has a profound knowledge of classical music (he studied with Morton Feldman) and although he does not completely reject tradition his new project Made to Break pays tribute to the futurist era not only because electronic noise plays an important role in the band context, which features Christof Kurzmann (electronics), Devin Hoff (e-bass) and Tim Daisy (drums).
Like classical futurist music the first track, “Vita Futurista (for Dick Raaijmakers)”, imitates technology, a dark baritone saxophone sound reminds of a foghorn before the real machine sets in: Kurzmann’s electronics sound like a limbo created by Edgar Allen Poe, there are static loops, a pulsing and scraping that gives you the creeps in a very subtle way. But futurism is not only about darkness, and after four minutes, when the bass turns in playing a super groovy Michael-Henderson-riff and Vandermark slaps out a soulful theme, the band has transformed into a 1980 New York No Jazz group – raw, funky, straight, hardcore. And just when you get used to it, the band makes another U-turn and after 17 minutes – out of the blue – they devote themselves to absolute beauty. The structure of the “Pursuit (for Alberto Giacometti)”, the second track of the album, is similar to the first one. It starts with a very lyrical passage which is close to chamber music before it turns into something completely different. Vandermark’s alto is close to the pain barrier and only Hoff’s electric bass brings him back to solidly grounded jazz rock. Hoff is the driving force in this track anyway, the copula between the different parts.
“Lacerba” is futurist in a postmodernist sense, it uses different elements of jazz history and combines it to something new.