Tag Archives: Geoff Farina

JazzWord review by Ken Waxman

Lawnmower – West (CF 178)
Architecturally organized into sound blocks, the seven tracks on this quartet`s debut CD bleed one into another to create a distinct aural picture. Mostly mid-tempo and somewhat monochromic, the pieces seem to take as much from shoe-gazer rock and poignant country music as jazz improvisation.

That’s not surprising, considering that two of players – guitarists Dan Littleton and Geoff Farina – are part of indie-rock bands such as Ida, Karate and Secret Stars. Drummer Luther Gray is a former punk-rocker who now plays with improv stylist such as saxophonist Ken Vandermark and guitarist Joe Morris. Leader of the Fully Celebrated Orchestra, alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, having worked with trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum among others, is the jazz spark here.

On ballads such as “Prayer of Death” and “Love”, the guitarists churn out Appalachian-styled twangs and tremolo slides as the saxophonist’s melismatic whines and choked slurs approximate the lonesome timbres of primitivist singers. When his tone isn’t reminiscent of Dock Boggs’ vocals, Hobbs channels Ornette Coleman. On a piece such as “Giant Squid” Hobbs’ creates jaunty, linear solos whose child-like intonation contrast with the guitarists’ crunching reverb and discordant fuzz tones Littleton and Farina only fleetingly differentiate themselves throughout when one vibrates steel-guitar-like licks and the other gashes his strings, producing abrasive rebounds. Meanwhile Gray’s presence is strictly supportive, sticking to bare-bone paradiddles and uncomplicated clatters and rolls.

Even on “Two”, West’s lengthiest track at almost 14¾ minutes, the pause between sections is no drum break, but an opportunity for methodical clunks and rustling raps from Gray. Half-lullaby and half-lament, resonating guitar drones at the top develop into fortissimo string shakes and blurry note sprays by the end, with Hobbs’ pinched reed bites and split tones providing the contrast.

Gray says the band name came from his youth mowing lawns while listening to music through a walkman. As imposing as some of the tracks are, the CD’s underlying melancholy may discourage an identical strategy here: a severed toe may result.
http://www.jazzword.com/review/127450

The New York City Jazz Record review by Ken Waxman

Lawnmower – West (CF 178 )
Architecturally organized into sound blocks, the seven tracks on this quartet’s debut CD bleed one into another to create a distinct aural picture. Mostly midtempo and somewhat monochromatic, the pieces seem to take as much from shoe-gazer rock and poignant country music as jazz improvisation. That’s not surprising considering that two of players – guitarists Dan Littleton and Geoff Farina – are part of indie-rock bands such as Ida, Karate and Secret Stars. Drummer Luther Gray is a former punk rocker who now plays with improv stylists such as saxophonist Ken Vandermark and guitarist Joe Morris. Leader of the Fully Celebrated Orchestra, alto saxophonist JimHobbs is the jazz spark here. On ballads such as “Prayer of Death” and “Love”, the guitarists churn out Appalachian-styled twang sand tremolo slides as the saxophonist’s melismatic whines and choked slurs approximate the lonesome timbres of primitivist singers. When his tone isn’t reminiscent of Dock Boggs’ vocals, Hobbs channels Ornette Coleman. On a piece such as “Giant Squid” Hobbs creates jaunty, linear solos whose child-like intonation contrast with the guitarists’ crunching reverb and discordant fuzz tones. Littleton and Farina only fleetingly differentiate themselves throughout when one vibrates steel-guitar-like licks and the other gashes his strings, producing abrasive rebounds. Meanwhile Gray’s presence is strictly supportive, sticking to bare-bone paradiddles and uncomplicated clatters and rolls. Even on “Two”, the lengthiest track at almost 15 minutes, the pause between sections is no drum break, but an opportunity for methodical clunks and rustling raps from Gray. Half-lullaby and half-lament, resonating guitar drones at the top develop into fortissimo string shakes and blurry note sprays by the end, with Hobbs’ pinched reed bites and split tones providing the contrast. Gray says the band name came from his youth, mowing lawns while listening to music through a walkman. As imposing as some of the tracks are, the album’s underlying melancholy may discourage an identical strategy here: a severed toe may result.

All About Jazz-Italy review by Angelo Leonardi

Lawnmower – West (CF 178)
I componenti di questo quartetto sono artisti d’avanguardia trenta/quarantenni che per formazione, esperienza e produzione musicale si collocano in un’area dove le usuali etichette (jazz, rock, elettronica, ambient ecc…) sono inopportune: i generi sono così amalgamati che è impossibile separarli uno dall’altro.

I quattro musicisti si conoscono e collaborano da anni in formazioni a geometria variabile ed in questo disco realizzano un progetto attraente, dove prevalgono melodie statiche, climi ipnotici e torridi, dove l’influenza del blues è palpabile tanto quanto un certo country alla Frisell. Non mancano momenti di sperimentazione rumoristica o impennate espressive verso il free ma il progetto è ben delineato e gli sviluppi formali suggestivi anche se non particolarmente originali.

Tra i brani più riusciti ricordiamo l’iniziale “One,” dove il contralto inizia delineando semplici linee melodiche su brandelli chitarristici iterati fino a giungere a tensioni parossistiche nella parte centrale. Su analoghe coordinate si sviluppa “Two,” con Jim Hobbs sempre protagonista, che mette a confronto una dimensione iniziale lirica e appassionata con una parte finale rumoristica e concitata. Chiari riferimenti alle concezioni espressive di Ornette Coleman e Bill Frisell rivelano rispettivamente “Giant Squid” (dal marcato e suggestivo contrasto sax contralto/chitarre elettriche) e “Prayer of Death,” dall’atmosfera sospesa ed evanescente contraddetta dal consueto magmatico finale.
 http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=5992

Ni Kantu review by Clifford Allen

LAWNMOWER – West (CF 178 )
Lawnmower is a semi-recent quartet based in the Northeast and comprised of drummer Luther Gray, guitarists Geoff Farina and Dan Littleton, and alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs. Minus Hobbs, the twined-guitar and drums trio went under the moniker of New Salt for a 2006 release on Kimchee. There’s a fair amount of history to Lawnmower, though one wouldn’t necessarily pick up on it at first – in addition to working as part of the Fully Celebrated Orchestra and in guitarist Joe Morris’ various small groups, Gray was a latter-day member of the DC indie-rock band Tsunami, while Farina and Littleton came up in deliberately-paced groups Karate and Ida, respectively. It’s not quite the pedigree one would expect in an improvising quartet, but at the same time the lack of clearly defined jazz or rock structure probably does this group well. There’s a stark, dusty twang and gritty electricity to the opening “One,” ringing downward strokes wrapping rapid, tremolo attack and muted shorts as Hobbs’s alto bounces and ricochets off of Gray’s surging chatter. Building from spare accent to brassy waves, the subtle rise and fall of limber, repeating planes are significant in setting off thorny counterpoint. Dry, acrid alto peals reach an earthy cadence on “Glass,” supported by gentle plugged-in harmonics, wisps of feedback and a malleted march. The metaphor of a competing tangle is apparent in “Giant Squid,” Gray’s rhythms chunky against seasick dives of wow and feedback, though the breath of a spry water bird comes through in Hobbs’s loquacious alto. West is a mostly quite spare set, but hinges on wiry comment and, at times, heated dialogue. There’s a spectral, field-like cast lent by the guitarists’ tonal gradations, shunting alto and percussion into uncharted areas and making this quartet date a welcome listen.
http://cliffordallen.blogspot.com/

Radio Student Ljubljana review by Bogdan Benigar

Lawnmower – West (CF 178)
Lawnmover je kvartet iz bostonskega okrožja, ki ga je za snemanje albuma julija 2008 sestavil bobnar Luther Gray, ob njem pa lahko slišimo še Jima Hobbsa na saksofonu ter dva električna kitarista, Geoffa Farino in Dana Littletona. Že sama zasedba je nenavadna. Če sta na eni strani jazzerja Gray in Hobbs pa Farina in Littleton prihajata bolj iz rockovskih krogov. Farina je sploh bolj znan po skupini Karate, trenutno pa se nahaja na turneji s Chrisom Brokawom iz Dirt Music … (v celoti!)
* Portugalska založba Clean Feed še naprej preseneča. Ob številnih novojazzovskih izdajah, predvsem iz newyorškega in domačega okoliša, se tu in tam pojavi prav poseben cvet, ki izstopa in še dolgo ne bo ovenel. Izstopa po izvoru, pristopu in glasbenemu rezultatu. Lawnmover je namreč kvartet iz bostonskega okrožja, ki ga je za snemanje albuma julija 2008 sestavil bobnar Luther Gray, ob njem pa lahko slišimo še Jima Hobbsa na saksofonu ter dva električna kitarista – Geoffa Farino in Dana Littletona. Že sama zasedba je nenavadna. Če sta na eni strani jazzerja Gray in Hobbs, pa Farina in Littleton prihajata iz bolj rockovskih krogov. Farina je sploh bolj znan po skupini Karate, trenutno pa se nahaja na turneji s Chrisom Brokawom, ki smo ga videli pred nekaj meseci v skupini Dirt Music.

Sestavo zasedbe je narekovala Grayeva želja, da bi z njo ustvaril glasbo, ki se razlikuje od tega, kar je počel do zdaj. To pa so številna sodelovanja z jazzovskimi glasbeniki Vzhodne obale, v prvi vrsti z Joem Morrisom in Taylorjem Hojem Bynumom. Jazz in improvizacija sta torej na prvem mestu, a Gray poudarja, da ga njegovi mentorji nikoli niso učili kaj naj igra, ampak kako naj igra in to predaja naprej tudi svojim učencem. In res, Grayevo bobnanje ima svojstven zven in ritmiko ne glede na to, ali ga poslušamo v improvizacijah z Joem Morrisom na albumu Creatures, ki je bil izdan letos pri založbi Not Two, ali na albumu West, ki se sliši kot glasba za jazzovski road movie, na katerem smo priča tako najbolj nenavadnim ameriškim štorijam, kot tudi ljubezenskemu odnosu na prostranstvu koruznih polj Indiane, od koder prihaja Gray. Vključitev električnih kitar, ki se nenehno poigravata, križata, igrata melodijo ali ustvarjata hrup, se zdi samoumevna, a vendarle originalna ideja. A glasba vendarle zaživi šele ob izjemnem Jimu Hobbsu, ki prispeva nekaj najbolj ekspresivnih zvokov altovskega saksofona, kar smo jih imeli priložnost slišati v zadnjih letih, če za trenutek odmislimo Grega Warda iz Chicaga. Za njegovo navdahnjeno igranje lahko rečemo, da dejansko prodre do kosti. To še posebno velja za komad Prayer of Death, medtem ko v komadu I Love spomni na dneve, ko se dekleta še padala na saksofoniste. Hobbs je, tako kot vsa sodobna jazzovska East Coast scena, manj poznan v naših krajih, a gre za neutrudnega mačka, ki že desetletje vodi cenjeni Fully Celebrated Orchestra in tako kot Gray sodeluje s ključnimi imeni jazzovske scene na Vzhodu. Po albumu West bodo ušesa za njegovo muziciranje nedvomno bolj široko odprta.

Luther Gray v spremnih besedah k albumu pove, da West ponazarja glasbo, ki jo je poslušal od otroštva do danes. In vendar ne gre za nove izvedbe starih komadov. Komadi na plošči West so napisani v duhu današnjega časa, kjer je nostalgija vir navdiha za novo ustvarjalnost. Čas, v katerem se lepi spomini preobrazijo v kreativno izražanje občutij prek glasbe, in prostor, v katerem pozitivnih izkušenj otroštva ni mogoče izločiti iz umetnikovega vsakdana. West je prvovrstna glasbena romanca in album, ki ga doma položiš na polico, na kateri piše „onkraj glasbenih zvrsti“. West je nekaj, česar še nismo slišali.
In nocoj ga na žalost ne bomo slišali v celoti. CD, ki bi v starih časih izšel v obliki dvojnega LP-ja, vsebuje preveč godbe za to oddajo. Slišali boste the best of West. Začetno One in zaključno Two v dolžini pol ure, vmes pa cvetove Prayer Of Death, Dan in I love. Luther Gray na bobnih, Jim Hobbs na altovskem saksofonu ter Geoff Farina in Dan Littleton na kitarah. Lawnmover ali po slovensko vrtna kosilnica.
http://www.radiostudent.si/article.php?sid=25000

Paris Transatlantic review by Jason Bivins

Lawnmower – WEST (CF 178 )
Drummer Luther Gray knows exactly the sound he’s going for: the sound of summer swelter, evoked by the swollen strumming of guitarists Geoff Farina and Dan Littleton, heat-haze and heavy air drenched in their reverb and vibrato, while Jim Hobbs’ celebrated alto quaver is all insects in shimmering air, punctuated by the occasional sweat-soaked complaint – “damn, it’s hot!” He’s great at bending tart notes around like balloon sculptures, as one guitarist does the Ribot twang alongside the other’s metallic sawing. The long lines and big thunderheads of pure tone are stretched elastically over Gray’s skittering pulse, with the guitars occasionally swerving outward to meet up with the drummer in a choppy second line rhythm (Gray is a model of restrained invention throughout). On the first few spins, I thought it was a bit uneventful, but then, as the temperature approached 100 down here, I started to get it. As the saxophone claws its way through the thickening, oscillating textures of “One,” as “Dan” cavorts with night birds and insects, and as “Glass” nods obliquely to one of those old Codona songs with kalimba (specifically “Mumakata”), I began to look forward to new listens, new immersions into this bath of sound. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all just texture: “Prayer of Death” could be a 19th century funeral air played by a surf band, and the nicely noisy “Giant Squid” unfurls long saxophone lines, descending and ascending inside the bowels of a machine. But ultimately it all drifts back to the sound on the daydreaming “I Love” and the sweet, wistful “Two” that ends the disc. Lovely. Somebody reach into the cooler and toss me a cold one.
http://www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine/monthly2010/07july_text.html#9

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Lawnmower: Two Electric Guitars, Alto Sax, Drums Play the Unexpected

Lawnmower – West (CF 178 )
Drummer and Musical Sculptor Luther Gray apparently spent many hours of his formative life mowing lawns while listening to music on a walkman. It was a place and time where Gray heard a wide variety of styles reflecting his changing musical interests. With the CD West (Clean Feed 178) by his group Lawnmower he puts together an intriguing set that reflects the experience, filtered by the softening of the edges of musical memory with time.

It’s  Geoff Farina and Dan Littleton on electric guitars, Jim Hobbs on alto sax, and of course Gray himself. This is music with a difference. The guitars use tremolo, feedback and drone blocks of sound to evoke an earlier era. Hobbs adds a distinctively sharp alto sax, and Gray plays a variety of drum roles, from quiet freedom to pulsation.

It’s a kind of reflective free psychedelic raga jazz. Most importantly, it works as a most interesting and evocative musical event. It certainly references obliquely an earlier period (late ’60s-early ’70s) in contemporary music. It is very evolved, a sophisticated offshoot of the psychedelic freak outs some people made in their garages or at the end of the school dances back then. Only it’s just much better than most if not virtually all of that.

In fact it is one of those great ideas musically. It’s a great idea that comes off to near perfection. Don’t expect hot licks. It’s an ensemble effort. A group painting in sound color. It’s rather daring. It’s fully engaging. You get the point.
http://gapplegateguitar.blogspot.com/

Village Voice reviews by Tom Hull

Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth – Deluxe (CF 174)
I used to be able to ID these cars: cover looks like a mid-1950s Oldsmobile (1956?), the sketch inside more like a 1959 Caddy, the ne plus ultra of tailfins. Lightcap’s a bassist, b. 1971, gets around, third album under his own name after two Fresh Sound New Talents. Runs a big horn line here, with tenor saxophonists Chris Cheek and Tony Malaby on all cuts, and alto saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo joining in on three of eight. Craig Taborn plays Wurlitzer, and Gerald Cleaver is the drums. Sounds like a freewheeling lineup, but they mostly hum along in sync. I used to have a monster Olds: a 1965, with a 425 cu. in. V-8, 4 bbl. carb, put out about 360 hp, ran real smooth keeping all that power bottled up under its big hood, kind of like this record. B+(*)

John Hébert Trio – Spiritual Lover (CF 175)
Bassist, from Louisiana, based in Jersey City, shows up on a lot of good records, now has two under his own name. Trio includes Gerald Cleaver on drums and Benoit Delbecq on piano, clarinet, and synth — mostly piano, but the switches muddy that somewhat. If you care to, you can focus on the bass and be rewarded for your efforts. Otherwise, Delbecq is a fine pianist — I recommend his 2005 album, Phonetics, but you get a taste of that here. B+(**)

Lawnmower – West (CF 178)
The label really seems to like group names, something I try to minimize in my filing: most seem like fronts for some principal, and even when group distribution is genuine so many group names become difficult to follow. I originally tried filing this under drummer Luther Gray: he produced and wrote the (very brief) liner notes. Don’t see any song credits. Of course, the person you hear is alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, who is always out front. Quartet is filled out with two guitarists, Geoff Farina and Dan Littleton, who don’t make much of a mark. Some bits of Americana worked into the mix, giving it a bit of folk-gospel roots, but recast as free jazz, of course. B+(**)

Keefe Jackson Quartet – Seeing You See (CF 176)
Tenor saxophonist, also plays bass clarinet, from Fayetteville, Arkansas, moved to Chicago in 2001, third album since 2006. Quartet includes ex-Vandermark 5 trombonist Jeb Bishop, who also plays alongside Jackson in Lucky 7s, plus Jason Roebke on bass and Noritaka Tanaka on drums. Snakey free jazz, probably more interesting for Bishop’s runs and smears, although Jackson can pull off some interesting lines. B+(**)

Carlos Bica + Matéria-Prima (CF 180)
Bassist, from Portugal, based in Germany, has a half-dozen or more records since 1996, four with his trio Azul (Frank Möbius on guitar, Jim Black on drums). Not sure if Prima-Matéria is a distinct group — doesn’t show up on Bica’s website project list nor on trumpeter Matthias Schriefl’s MySpace page (Schreefpunk, European TV Brass Trio, Brazilian Motions, deujazz, 2 Generations of Trumpets, United Groove-O-Rama, Schmittmenge Meier, Mutantenstadt). Group also includes Mário Delgado on electric guitar, João Lobo on drums and percussion, and João Paulo on piano, keyboards, and accordion. Assembled from three concerts — the one patch of applause comes at a bit of surprise, even if well earned. Rather patchy, the main shift turning on Paulo’s accordion, which puts the band in a mood for tango or something folkloric; otherwise they have a tendency toward soundtrack, with three placenames in the titles. Still, Schriefl is a smoldering trumpet player, and this never settles into the ordinary. B+(***)

El Intruso review by Sergio Piccirilli

Lawnmower – West (CF 178 )

Calificación: A la marosca

Busca y encontrarás, lo que no se busca permanece oculto (Sófocles)
El arte es siempre un canal de conexión entre el universo exterior del artista y su mundo interior. La captación de ese todo unificado puede manifestarse en tres dimensiones fundamentales de la sensibilidad: la apertura hacia lo diferente que mora en el mundo exterior, la fuente del sentido que reside en la construcción interior de lo percibido y la exploración interior liberada mediante diversas formas de expresión. Esa búsqueda por revelar lo oculto que impulsa al artista, puede tomar vida y manifestarse de un modo trascendente a través de su obra. No obstante, en el devenir creativo no resulta sencillo poseer un sentido de lo universal que permita descifrar los signos transcendentes de los tiempos, sobre todo cuando nos enfrentamos en la actualidad a un paradigma cultural que parece darle la espalda a lo interior. La búsqueda del artista por trascender es un infrecuente contacto con el alma humana que nace de un principio de necesidad interior. Ese extraordinario objetivo que alberga en cada artista se encuentra mucho más cerca de lo que pensamos, ya que su fuente no está únicamente asociada a inalcanzables postulados estéticos o en los ademanes ampulosos de la sabiduría infinita, sino también en las propiedades emocionales de cada uno de nuestros actos, en la experimentación de lo mundano, en los silenciados sacrificios que nos impone la vida cotidiana.
El arte es una exploración interior; pero esa exploración, aunque parezca un juego de palabras, también es un arte en sí mismo y su cabal entendimiento, como decía Carl Jung, es similar a “tender un puente entre el conocimiento intelectual y conceptual y el conocimiento inmediato y vivencial”. La búsqueda interior y la necesidad artística, la experiencia y el saber acumulado, lo transcendente y lo mundano, pueden reunirse excepcionalmente en la obra de un artista.

Algo de todo eso parece encajar con el enunciado estético representado en West, el álbum debut de Lawnmower. En este trabajo su líder, el baterista y compositor Luther Gray, manifiesta en cada gesto la búsqueda de un sonido interior y una voz propia que enhebre la aspiración artística con lo meramente experiencial. Así es como la plástica de la banda recoge los diferentes hábitos adquiridos en su carrera musical, desde el temprano paso por el punk con Tsunami a sus colaboraciones orientadas al jazz en las bandas de Joe Morris y Steve Lanter pasando por el tránsito en el campo de la libre improvisación junto a luminarias de la música creativa como Anthony Braxton, Steve Swell, Ken Vandermark, Taylor Ho Bynum, Fred Anderson y Joe McPhee, entre otros. Sin dejar de mencionar al álbum New Salt de 2005 en donde participaron tres de los cuatro integrantes deLawnmower (el baterista  Luther Gray y los guitarristas Geoff Farina y Dan Littelton); antecedente cuyos afanes artísticos parecen haber completado el ciclo de su evolución musical con la incorporación del saxo alto, y miembro fundador de la notable Fully Celebrated Orchestra, Jim Hobbs.

En el análisis del cuadro de situación en que se funda este proyecto resulta imposible eludir el extravagante nombre adoptado por el cuarteto, ya que Lawnmower (en inglés, cortadora de césped) no parece ser una denominación de sencilla aplicación para un grupo que orbita los contornos del jazz, el rock, el post-punk y el folk alternativo. Sin embargo, una mirada más profunda puede permitir el hallazgo de puntos de contacto en términos de ilación de conceptos.

En la denominación de una banda siempre subyace un enlace con los antecedentes practicados por sus miembros. Así es como un músico que durante su etapa formativa trabajó en la guardia de un hospital podría llamar a su primer experiencia grupal Traumatismo de Cráneo y triple fractura expuesta de tibia y peroné; o alguien que subsidió su carrera musical vendiendo electrodomésticos elegiría para su banda nombres tales como La Licuadora o El Lavarropas o La cocina de cuatro hornallas con encendido eléctrico (lo que esté en oferta).
En relación al caso que nos ocupa debemos señalar que Luther Gray asegura haber invertido muchas horas escuchando música mientras cortaba el pasto, de allí la proveniencia del nombre Lawnmower. Confesión que seguramente haría muy feliz al ingeniero Edwin Beard Budding, quien al patentar la cortadora de césped en 1830 afirmó que su invento haría “que los caballeros del campo, al usar mi máquina, estén realizando un ejercicio, útil y saludable”.

En concordancia con lo expuesto podemos atestiguar que escuchar el álbum debut de Lawnmower también es un “ejercicio, útil y saludable” pero que tiene la ventaja de no requerir para su disfrute que seamos “caballeros del campo” o que para su goce debamos usar una maquina de cortar pasto. Y si no me cree, escuche música en una cortadora de césped y después me cuenta. Lawnmower, en el álbum West, testimonia una declaración estética clara, convincente y muy personal, ornamentada con una infrecuente paleta sonora fundada en batería, dos guitarras eléctricas y saxo alto que le otorga una pátina de incontrastable originalidad a su alineación tímbrica.

Esas características se manifiestan y potencian desde la apertura con One, pieza en la que se distinguen los difusos contornos de un ambiente rural signado por la melancolía, la soledad y una atrapante sensación de pesadumbre. Mientras la aparentemente lábil batería de Luther Gray ofrece inquietantes matices, las guitarras de Geoff Farina y Dan Littelton construyen un envolvente entramado armónico estratégicamente embellecido por el dramático ascenso dinámico que dibuja el siempre atinado saxo de Jim Hobbs.

Glasstambién recorre una senda de atmósferas opresivas, tensiones subyacentes e intensidades contenidas pero adornada con inasibles ecos orientales que parecen retumbar en los confines de la música de los Apalaches. Un imaginativo mosaico sonoro que enlaza los circunspectos trazos que emanan de la batería y las guitarras con el sobrecogedor lamento que emerge del saxo.

Prayers of Deathrecuerda la evocación de la música country que suele caracterizar a algunas composiciones de Bill Frisell; pero mientras estas últimas permiten imaginar a un vaquero sonriente, recién salido del coiffeur y doctorado en Oxford, en la aproximación de Lawnmower se visualiza uno abandonado a su suerte, andrajoso, solitario, rebelde y, por ende, mucho más creíble.

Giant Squid(en inglés, Calamar Gigante), al sumergirse en las profundidades de un desconocido y frenético paisaje sonoro, parece hacer honor a su título. Una colisión de perturbadoras disonancias e insólitas armonías en donde el saxo alto resulta la única “voz” humana que logra emerger a la superficie.

En las sombrías texturas de la opresiva y a la vez frágil atmósfera de Dan se enfatizan aspectos estructurales, cromáticos y formales que, a la manera del arte abstracto, eluden imitar modelos o formas naturales. Mientras que en la etérea I Love, los sutiles trazos de la batería de Luther Gray, el inquietante bloque sonoro de las guitarras de Geoff Farina y  Dan Littleton y la soberbia enunciación melódica del saxo de Jim Hobbs se funden en una embriagante danza de extraña belleza. Finalmente, Two oficia como una especie de secuela expandida y optimista del tema de apertura pero atravesado por ruidos ambientales que asemejan el sonido de (claro está) una cortadora de césped.

Lawnmowerdespliega una asombrosa aptitud para crear imágenes cargadas de tensión, limita el efectismo a momentos claves y apela a la sugerencia antes que a impactar con determinados recursos, haciendo que las propiedades emocionales de cada tono respondan a un juego de la imaginación en donde las formas musicales parecen entrar en contacto con el alma humana.

La deuda que tenemos con el juego de la imaginación es incalculable (Carl Jung)
http://www.elintruso.com/article.php?id=1841

Burning Ambulance review by Phil Freeman

LAWNMOWER – West (CF 178)
This group is a collective that started out as a trio. Under the name New Salt, drummer Luther Gray and guitarists Geoff Farina and Dan Littleton released a self-titled album in 2005. Though I haven’t heard that album, reviews suggest it was more spacious and post-rock than this one. The addition, on West, of alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs (like Gray, a frequent collaborator with guitarist/bassist Joe Morris) takes the music into a seething, blues-punk/skronk-jazz realm.

The disc doesn’t put the two guitarists in separate stereo channels, or identify who’s playing what in any other way. From one angle, that’s a little annoying, but from another, it helps unify the group as a single sonic entity. It doesn’t really matter either way, though, because as the disc opens, they’re both working in a gritty, electric blues-rock idiom. Not in the macho, thudding manner of Free, Foghat, Humble Pie etc. (all of whom I love), but something more alt-rockish and attenuated. “One,” the first track, is a slow-burning blues over which Hobbs takes harsh, almost Albert Ayler-esque solos. On the second track, “Glass,” the guitarists are quieter, but Hobbs gradually builds up to some sandpapery, Peter Brötzmann-like shrieks.

“Prayer of Death” finds one guitarist playing a folky melody over and over, like a cross between Bill Frisell and a very quiet Sonny Sharrock, as Hobbs takes another fierce solo full of abstraction and disorienting noisiness. “Giant Squid” is the most abstract and aggressive track of all, with one guitarist heading into Pete Cosey territory while the other lands somewhere between Caspar Brötzmann and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. Hobbs plays it fairly straight on this one, opting for high-speed runs rather than waves of skronk—it’s the only time the guitarists manage to muscle him aside. “Dan” is eight minutes of near-silence, drones and the occasional rubbed cymbal. This leads into “I Love,” which offers more drones, but some lovely, if occasionally raucous, ballad playing from the sax. And on the album’s final track, the near-fifteen-minute “Two,” we’re back to the twanging country blues of “One”—straight-up Ry Cooder shit from the guitars, with Hobbs playing lines that are just slightly off, setting the listener’s teeth on edge in a good way. In the piece’s final stretch, one guitar sets up a loud drone almost worthy of Sunn O))), as the saxophone gets all Ayler-ish again.

I see I haven’t talked about Luther Gray’s contributions. Well, he’s got no bassist to lock in with, which forces him to either assert himself with blast beats and clattering snare rolls or be a nuanced accompanist inserting minimalist rhythms behind the slowly cycling guitars. He chooses the latter path throughout, and it ties the album together extremely well. This is a great record, too skronky and assertive for casual listening but fascinating and unique.

1. Do I foresee myself listening to this record again? Definitely.

2. Should you buy this record? Absolutely.
http://burningambulance.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/31-days-of-album-reviews-18-lawnmower-west/