AMN Reviews: dMu – Synaptic Self (2016; Iluso Records)

This slab of aggression features the trio of Mike Caratti on drums, Josh Sinton on sax and bass clarinet, and Álvaro Domene on electric guitar. Channeling both free jazz and a punk/metal vibe, Domene’s heavily distorted riffing and speed picking are juxtaposed with drones and urgently angular melodies from Sinton. Underneath, Caratti provides staggered rhythms.

All three of these explorers have a penchant for twisting notes, irregular phrasing, and left-of-center explosiveness. Sinton’s bass clarinet, in particular, adds a rich texture to Domene’s doomy grinding. But not all of Synaptic Self is improv. Several tracks are based around pre-established themes, though some of these lead to an open blowout or two.

Comparisons? Slobber Pup’s Pole Axe, for one, but without the quiet parts. A commendable release that explores untrodden paths.

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