Friday, 4 September 2009

Bablicon - 'The Orange Tapered Moon' (Misra)

Ten years ago I was jizzing over this and it hasn't been any worse for the wear. This 'sophmore' effort is much more focused, with a significantly shorter running time (35 minutes) and pieces that, if not composed more tightly, at least feel more cohesive. Opening track 'Silicon)(Bucktown' is the pop song Bablicon hinted at with their first album, replacing the moaning with sharp, shouted lyrics that are still just a bit buried by dissonant string glissandos and thick-ass Wurlitzer piano. The funk-rock bass drives it along but this band knows exactly which side of fusion to stay sheathed in. Things get a bit more Zorn, before exploding on 'Anne on an Infibulus' where musical chops meet determination and momentum. The whole record has a nervousness to it, though it's able to take on a groove at the same time. Things start to fall apart despite the rolling medicine ball of rhythmic prog. There's a nice ebb and flow in the higher register, and by the time things segue into the flanged aggro-dub of 'Orange Moon' we've been on some sort of very weird journey. Side two (the CD booklet, though near-impossible to read, replicates the 'proper' style of an LP) opens with some tinny concrète piece that clatters about rather ambitiously, and in the hands of less skilled artists it may seem out of place. What makes Bablicon great is their ability to forge a balance between the collage aesthetic and more guttural jazz/groove-oriented music, yet with a flavor for fake neoclassical orchestration (heard a bit on the first album too, but more prevalent on 'ZIO(Z)'). The final track 'An Orange Pumpkin Glowing Moon Ensemble', takes the bigband minimalism of Vibracathedral Orchestra and injects it with a dose of 'Here Come the Warm Jets'. Triumphant, anthemic, or just easy? Again it's all in the balance, and this feels like a release to me - the crowning summation of what was the (now pretty much forgotten?) Bablicon's finest moment.

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