Snakish
Leo Records
CD LR 4350

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Wadada Leo Smith - trumpet
Miroslav Tadic - acoustic and baritone guitars
Mark Nauseef - percussion and live electronics
Walter Quintus - computer, processing
Katya Quintus - vocals


Of all the avant garde players from his generation, Wadada Leo Smith easily ranks among the most insightful collaborators with electronic musicians. His willingness to include electrified lexicon in his musical language now yields Snakish, a surprising soundscape created with a band culled from the Cal/Arts faculty, including guitarist Miroslav Tadic and electrician Walter Quintus, as well as vocliast Katya Quintus and Mark Nauseef on percussion and electronics. The guitar, trumpet, and percussion juxtapose the electronic environments to create rainbows of color and textures, leading down surprising avenues of 21st Century music. As with much of Smith’s work, space and silence share in importance with sounds generated.

The fourteen concise aural haiku begin with the dreamy “Uncoiling,” which features Smith muted and musing with Tadic’s understated guitar in a shimmering soundscape. Quintus quietly recites (in German?) as sparks rise. Nauseef’s bell awakens “Cosmoil,” Tadic runs muted strings through electro mist and processed Smith flares. The short atmospheric “Disembodyism” gives way to “Over the Influence,” with its ghostly train sounds and Smith’s pointed declarations. “Yopo” also begins with a bell, and Smith plays carefully chosen notes over the frothy hum around him.

”Black Bell Mother” utilizes many bells and gongs; Tadic contributes muted sound from a his prepared guitar. Tadic and Smith quietly converse on “Majounish,” while “Kawami Wama” sounds cinematic behind the recitation. Jagged electronics scrape Smith’s blunted horn then overgrow the garden. A sputtering electro raspberry introduces Tadic’s guitar on “Speeds Per Coil,” Smith’s warm sparse phrases a safe place in roaring whoosh. Smith bites into low gritty growly notes on “Neither Liquid Nor Gaseous, Torn” among singing bowls, undermixed prepared guitar, and vining cloudy sound.

Opening with sounds like a Martian gamelan, “Green Gold Melt” grows spidery with slide guitar and Smith’s smoky long tones curling upward. The solo electronic satellite song “Gangah Wallah” leads into the moody “Rivers of Swans.” Sweet small prepared guitar chords join Smith's muted playing over shifting tectonic plates. A searching trumpet and prepared guitar poke through the kilowatt wind on “Coiling.”

With Quintus’ ambient sounds crackling and rushing around them, Wadada Leo Smith and the Snakish band have tapped into the music of wonder.

- Rex Butters
allaboutjazz.com



a u d i o   s a m p l e s

click links below for RealAudio Clips

1. Uncoiling

2. Cosmoil

3. Disembodyism

4. Over The Influence
56k RealAudio stream      DSL / Cable RealAudio stream

5. Yopo

6. Black Bell Mother

7. Majounish

8. Kawami Wama

9. Speeds Per Coil

10. Neither Liquid Nor Gaseous, Torn

11. Gold Green Melt

12. Gangah Wallah

13. Rivers Of Swans

14. Coiling


© 1997-2011 Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith