NUBDUG ENSEMBLE - Volume 2: Blame

Nubdug Ensemble - Volume 2: Blame

7 songs
20:14 minutes
***** ***
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Itís only been a year since Jason Berry, formerly of Vacuum Tree Head of which he was a founder, introduced his new band Nubdug Ensemble. While he still retained the progressive and avantgarde tendencies of that band, he decidedly went into a more jazz oriented direction, with lots of wind instruments to emphasise that point.

Coming exactly one year after the debut, Volume 2: Blame is yet another short record, with seven tracks that just make it to twenty minutes. Just like the album title, the songs are also all five letter words starting with "bl". The opener Blues turns out to be a blues song, with added elements of funk and soul, which doesnít surprise considering the line-up: Steve Adams plays all kinds of saxophones and flutes, guitarist Myles Boisen played in the past with Tom Waits and John Zorn, trumpetist Chris Grady performed with The Residents, G. Calvin Weston can even claim to have drummed for Ornette Coleman and Lounge Lizards. Vocalist Jill Rogers has a distinctive voice with a sharp intonation that you wonít forget anytime soon. Keyboard player Amanda Chaudhary, who also recently released an album under her own name, offers her distinguished skills, just like bass player Brett Waren. And then there is Jason Barry, composer, keyboard player, electronics and programming. Bluff is a shorter track with a more direct approach. It maybe doesnít have the depth of the opener, but itís still impressive how the song delivers in just under two minutes. Bloom is even shorter, instrumental and comes with an avantgarde jazz touch. Bleep surprises with manic vocals and an authentic gangster movie atmosphere. Blood is another short instrumental which sounds like a funky jazz approach to the English Canterbury sound of the seventies. Blaze is at nearly four minutes one of the recordís longest tracks, but to be fair, its first half is mostly electronic noises that are nonetheless quite entertaining. The album ends with Block, at five minutes the magnum opus of this short album. It sums up everything that preceded.

Just like last time, Nubdug Ensemble come up with a fun hodgepodge of jazz, blues, funk, avantgarde and progressive rock. Often too many people involved spoil the final result, but this eight-piece outfit truly works like a tight ensemble, which is a testimony to the decades long experience of Jason Berry and his musicians. If you like jazz rock, fun music like Mr. Bungle and the streetwise ruminations of a Tom Waits or the Lounge Lizards, this spicy cocktail will hit you in the head and your guts alike.

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