Dennis Gonzalez Yells at Eels featuring Alvin FielderAkkolyte
What other musical family is so entwined in each other's output that both their grindcore and jazz projects can realistically be reviewed in the same space? For Resurrection and Life, trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez and his sons Aaron (contrabass) and Stefan (drums) once again collaborated with legendary New Orleans drummer Alvin Fielder, filled out by trombonist Gaika James. It's an ace combo. Every line is shaded, dark to light: "Humo en la Mañana" is a slow-burner, and the elder Gonzalez's playing has everything that made saxophonist Alvin Ayler's playing so spectral, as does follow-up "Psynchronomenography."
"A Cobra on Clinton Avenue" gets in a droning, cyclical exotica mode, shaded by Stefan's vibraphone. Gonzalez is a great collaborator, which is apparent on last year's The Hymn Project, a religious exercise with Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten. Over the course of Resurrection's hour, all the players manage to find a groove, but Dennis is the rock that makes the ripple happen. He's been giving the master class for a while now, so that may not be news.
Aaron and Stefan just put out their debut LP as drum and bass grindcore duo Akkolyte, and it's miles away from Yells At Eels, at least sonically. Clues in the Chaospile was several years in the making, and if the album cover doesn't clue you in, it's non-stop brutal thrash from prologue to epilogue. The arc of the 18 songs is right there on the insert: Feel-good subject matter is dashed from the opening track ("Evolutionary Mishaps"), they lock into a monster rhythm at the midpoint ("Hell On Earth") and stay true to the end ("Inherent Death"). Those 18 songs could probably just be one long 40-minute track. If you caught their December album release gig at Carroll Street bunker Queen City Hall, you no doubt had your bangs blown on your forehead.
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