Contemporary Noise Sextet – Ghostwriter’s Joke
Label – Denovali Records
1 Walk with marylin
2 Morning Ballet
3 Is that Revolution Sad
4 Old Typewriter
5 Chasing Rita
6 Norman’s Mother
7 Kill the Seagull, now!
Something in the arrangement of the tracks, and in the names that were given to them by the Contemporary Noise Sextet, makes me think about an old detective book with seven chapters (and, yes, quite a surprising ending!). The sound smells of smoke and old wood, and the music, ranging from (brief) moments of easy listening Jazz, to wilder, more extravagant highlights, manages to make sure that this story remains interesting and even appealing. I don’t usually listen to Jazz music, and so in order to understand this album, I am going to listen to it outside the realms that are alien to me, the rich vocabulary used in analyzing this old genre.
“Walk with Marylin” begins with a pretty dramatic and even mysterious music. I think about somewhere between a smoke filled film noir and a cheap erotic movie. If this is Marilyn Monroe we are talking about, I think that is the exact combination to think about. The track is slowly progressing, percussion in the backward and low, yet dominant brass section are taking control over it. I really like this beginning, which is both a suitable introduction to this album, and a nice contrast to the next track – “Morning Ballet”, which is faster and more rhythmic. On this track, you can hear traces (intentional or not) of Mr.Bungle’s “Disco Volante”, especially in the bass section. Being a reasonable and logical possibility in any Jazzy tune, this is still a very nice surprise, and something I hear in more and more elements of this track.
I will jump to something completely different, Norman’s Mother, which begins with what sounds like a monotonous hitting over the black keys of the piano. For a while, it sounds like this track is getting closer to a relatively easy listening standard, with nothing exciting to expect, but Norman’s Mother has few surprises up her sleeves, and instead, this track transforms into a bulldozer of free Jazz galore, crossing the borders with noise music several times before it comes back to the melodies that were heard before. In my humble opinion, this is the best track in this album.
The different elements, dark music, melodies and wild, noisy and free Jazz are creating together an appealing work that works even for my Jazz-less ears. “Ghostwriter’s Joke” is a varied and vivid album by a proficient group that I ended up enjoying rather than being bored by a genre that I have nothing to do with.