May 12, 2016
Boat 008/RAT 034
By Ken Waxman
Straddling the basin where punk, improv, metal and jazz streams intersect is the Euro-American Bureau of Atomic Tourism (B.O.A.T.) sextet, which honey bee-like extracts musical ambrosia from each genre without burrowing too deeply into its flowering petals. Without overturning B.O.A.T.’s navigational strategy the band has replaced two members on this, its fourth CD. Two of Belgian’s busiest players, drummer Teun Verbruggen and electric pianist Jozef Dumoulin are still on board as are Americans, trumpeter Nate Wooley and reedist Andrew d’Angelo. Joining the international crew are American noise-rock bassist Tim Dahl, and New York-based, Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson.
Hapax Legomena is like a multi-flavored ice cream cone. Rather than proffering a single taste on different tracks, the sextet infuses most tunes with ingredients from assorted musical styles with some elements more tangy than others, depending on the composer. The psychedelic-like track that is “Carlientje en Haar Bootje” for instance, sets up bellicose rock-styled rhythms from Fender Rhodes and guitar against clenched riffs from the horns. With the results strained through faux-signal processing, the opposing concepts are united by the climax, calmed at the end with drum clip-clops and keyboard slurs.
Wooley’s “Ron Miles” and Dahl’s “Citrus” are opposite sides of the ice cream cone. The former named for the trumpeter’s brass mentor is as soothing as a cruise on calm seas. Contributing to this are moderato bass clarinet whorls anchored by guitar licks and keyboard splashes. In contrast “Citrus” drips heaviness, with all the instruments exploding like a battle soundtrack and with Verbruggen’s pacing especially frenetic. Plunger trumpet and crunching bass guitar lines judder every which way, until the piece finally subsides into a satisfying moderato tempo.
D’Angelo’s “Numer Ology” is the stand-out track, paced with alto saxophone slides and pauses, then harmonized with trumpet on top and keyboard below. Initially mid-tempo it subtly speeds up via rapid drum smacks and sliding guitar lines without upset. On the strength of this disc, much rougher waters would be necessary to push this B.O.A.T off course.
Tracks: Hilsnur; Eochnit; Pittles; Carlientje en Haar Bootje; Ron Miles; Numer Ology; Citrus
Personnel: Nate Wooley: trumpet; Andrew d’Angelo: alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Jozef Dumoulin: Fender Rhodes; Hilmar Jensson: guitar; Tim Dahl: bass; Teun Verbruggen: drums
—For The New York City Jazz Record May 2016