AMN Reviews: Perhaps Contraption – Mud Belief (2016; Bandcamp)

Take equal parts Beefheart, Zappa, Henry Cow, and oompah music, and you might begin to get something close to Perhaps Contraption. This UK collective returns after a long quiet period with the release of Mud Belief, their first album in four years. Led by Squier Squier on vocals, guitars, flute, and piccolo, the band comprises eight additional players, all but one contributing vocals, and all but two playing some form of brass or woodwind. The result is something between a twisted marching band and art rock.

Many of the twelve tracks on Mud Belief provide angular but catchy horn-driven rhythms, as well as multi-part singing. The first three tracks, I am IDroplets / Molecules, and Lay Low are prime examples the band’s vocal and horn-heavy approach – and are pure joy. After these, the outside nature of the compositions is blended with a more straight-forward approach for a while, though it would be hard to to category anything on the album as “mainstream.” Later tracks take on a more avant direction once again.

Comparisons? That’s a tough one. Aside from the three possible influences above, one can hear strains of Charming Hostess, Sufjan Stevens, and Squonk Opera. Intentional? Probably not. Ultimately, nobody sounds like Perhaps Contraption. And that is a significant part of their singular charm.


Is the Saxophone Cursed? 

Adolphe Sax (1814-1894), inventor of the saxophone

Source: Georgia Straight previews a documentary on the sax.

The life of Adolphe Sax could have been directed by Tex Avery. The Belgian inventor survived seemingly countless bizarre and faintly hilarious near-death experiences—poisoning, drowning, gun powder mishaps, a couple skull fractures—before producing the musical instrument that bears his name in 1846. His appalling luck continued afterward, up to and including a failed assassination attempt by jealous rivals. Before dying in poverty at the unlikely age of 80, the slightly mad horn-maker had devised a 10-meter wide hilltop cannon designed to blow away his enemies.

Claudia Quintet on Tour

Source: Claudia Quintet.

June 18
USA San Francisco Jazz Center
201 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA

June 19
USA San Francisco Jazz Center
201 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA

June 21
USA Earshot Festival
Cornish College of the Arts
PONCHO Concert Hall, Kerry Hall
710 E Roy St
Seattle, WA 98102

June 22
USA Secret Society
116 NE Russell St.
Portland, OR 97212 (with Blue Cranes)

June 23
USA Blue Whale
Weller Court Plaza 3rd floor
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. Suite.301
Los Angeles, CA 90012

June 24
USA Musical Instrument Museum
4725 E. Mayo Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ

June 25
7:30pm USA Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
1008 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA

June 29
CA Ottawa Jazz Festival
National Arts Centre Back Stage
Ottawa, Canada

June 30
USA Rochester Jazz Festival
Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza
Rochester, NY

October 12 CA L’Off Festival
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

October 27 USA Edgefest
Kerrytown Concerthouse
Ann Arbor, MI