AMN Reviews: DR. MiNT – Voices in the Void (2017; Orenda Records)

dr-mint-voices-in-the-voidDR. MiNT consists of Daniel Rosenboom on trumpet, Gavin Templeton on sax, Alexander Noice on electric guitar and effects, Sam Minaie on bass and electronics, and Caleb Dolister on drums. They call themselves a “bi-coastal experimental rock band.” Rosenboom, Templeton and Noice have played together in a number of settings, including Rosenboom’s quintet, septet, and solo offerings. This trio has been teaming with Minaie and Dolister for a decade, with Voices in the Void being their fifth recording.

While the group states that their works are spontaneously composed, it is likely that there is at least an agreed-upon framework established for each piece. Their playing is too coordinated to be otherwise. Thus, this is not free improv per se, though it is heavily informed by that genre. Additional influences include heavy metal, jazz fusion, John Zorn, and even a bit of modern electronica.

But the dominating factor throughout is Noice’s aggressive chording and riffing, backed by the horns to create thick walls of noise. Still, several of the pieces provide plenty of room for soloing by Rosenboom and Templeton. Not infrequently, these solos include the pair of horns, or one of the former teamed up with guitar and playing off of each other. Minaie and Dolister alternate between backing roles and more non-traditional approaches, the latter well-represented on the rhythmic workout of Fanfare Mechanique.

The result, is a playful, tense, and spirited exploration of untrodden paths in both rock and jazz. Ambitious and full of urgency, these eight tracks are both an intense intellectual workout, as well as just plain fun. If you are familiar with other recordings by Rosenboom or on the Orenda Records label, you will feel at home listening to Voices in the Void.

This album will be released January 26, 2017 on Orenda Records.

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