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Ches Smith and These Arches - Finally out of My Hands (Skirl, 2010)

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Drummer Ches Smith leads a very exciting and diverse band on this short but frequently thrilling album. Based on the idea of building bridges and connections between musicians and between composition and improvisation, the group consisting of Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone, Mary Halvorson on guitar, Andrea Parkins on accordion, organ and electronics and Smith on drums develops a very exciting and dynamic conception of music. “Anxiety Disorder" opens the album in a strong and fast fashion with guitar, bass and drums lending foundation for long tones of saxophone. The music develops organically with horn and drums driving hard and fast. “Finally Out of My Hands" has deep dark saxophone coming in waves while swirling accordion and drums push the music onward, and guitar probes with eccentricity. A deep and powerful beat focuses “Sixteen Bars For Jail" proving a confident and fast base for the music. Fast collective improvisation is unleashed as a storm of music featuring scalding guitar. “Conclusion" uses slow building rhythm with nice drumming and guitar work building tension, while raw saxophone and drums spar in “It Rained and the Tent Fell Down," developing a wild and exciting improvisation of saxophone and sparks of guitar. Dynamic shifts of tempo keep the performance consistently unpredictable and compelling. “Disgust for a Pathetic Chorale" develops from guitar and drums to a section of saxophone and spitfire guitar, and “Civilization" wraps up the album with strong and deep saxophone with raw pounding drums over swirling organ, developing a free and wild performance. This was a very well played and exciting album featuring some of the most interesting musicians on the scene today. The instrumentation made for an unusual and unique sound and offered a lot of possibilities for the band to explore. Finally out of my hands—amazon.com

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