BLUEBLUT – Butt Butt
(Plagdichnicht PDN30. CD Review by Peter Slavid)
About eighteen months ago I reviewed the first CD from Blueblut called Hurts So Gut (review here)). It was great fun – but very hard to describe because of its complete unpredictability. This new CD called Butt Butt is just as much fun, just as unpredictable and just as difficult to describe.
In their own words you can expect “thrashing grooves, whirling improvs and electronic explorations, plus cowboy hoe-downs, prog rock, and even German grime” That’s as good a description as I can come up with, especially since you often get all of those in one track.
BlueBlut are made up of the Austrian experimental electronics and guitar player Chris Janka; with two Vienna based Americans, Led Bib drummer Mark Holub and the virtuoso theremin player Pamelia Stickney (previously Pamelia Kurstin). If there is one thing that runs through all the tracks it’s the strange sound of Stickney’s theremin. It wails over crashing chords, it cuts through Holub’s ferocious drumming and it can sometimes lead the melody. At other times it provides an eerie backdrop to some spoken words. There are various guests on vocals plus Thomas Berghammer on trumpet on one of the standout tracks Twien Town.
That track starts with a twanging guitar over a siren like theremin, and leads into steady rock beat over which the trumpet plays a growling solo (almost conventional so far). Then it suddenly turns quiet and mysterious for a few minutes until its time to build back up again with a rock rhythm gradually emerging and taking over. Then the guitar gets funky over the wailing theremin and then the rhythm disappears altogether to be replaced by thrashing drums and finally the twanging guitar returns alongside the theremin.
And then there’s the track with the babble of a western rodeo auction, or the 45 second song about Inca Beer; or another 45 seconds called Some Jazz Has to Happen Somewhere – that has some very odd chat on it.
As I said at the beginning this is unpredictable – and shouldn’t jazz always be unpredictable? It’s definitely fun, it can even be a bit silly (and in my opinion there’s not enough “silly” in jazz these days). I particularly want to see this band live, and they will be appearing at the Lume festival at the Iklectik Artlab on 26th June for which a Kickstarter Campaign is currently under way.
Peter Slavid broadcasts a weekly radio show of European Jazz