Eddie Lascu 20-May-2008 Really Loud Noises

This has got to be the most outrageously intriguing album I listen to lately. Each song smacks you in the head until you are left in a state of utter disbelief. I simply didn't know what to make of it, so what do I do? I played it again. And again, and again, until it started slowly to make sense. To keep in line with the spirit of the album which, by all accounts, is total indecision, I still don’t know how to categorize it. Too bad it wasn't released on an LP because I could have said that side A is a good mix of jazz with frequent inflections of fusion while side B ventures into an electronic/ambient realm, with ample Eno-inspired compositions and Frippian tonalities. To have a complete trip all over the spectrum, progressive rock and classical music are also featured.

ScienceNV (pronounced “science envy”) is a quartet based in California formed by very talented musicians with long stints in the field. The band started to take shape when Rich Kallet (drums and percussion) met with David Graves (piano, keyboards and bass synth). The two quickly teamed with Larry Jay Davis (guitar and bass guitar) and formed a band called “Aesthetic Condition”. Jim Henriques (guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, percussion and bass synth), a musician Kallet has worked with some 25 years ago, was also invited to join and they became the “musical abomination” called ScienceNV, as the artists put it themselves. Guest on one song only is Alisa Rose (violins).

The album starts off very nicely with a long fusion track (“Devil in Witches’ Hands”) that sounds as if taken from Al DiMeola’s “Splendido Hotel”. Same latino rhythms, same fiery guitar-keyboard interplay heard on “Dinner Music of the Gods”. Henriques’ guitar even changes the registry towards the end of the song, insinuating an immixture of some McLaughlin along the way. Good, by now you have settled in your listening chair and eagerly await the next track. This is where you will be smacked for the first time because the second track is a massive slaughter of Ravel’s “Bolero”. I know, I know – I had the exact same words on my lips. But let’s keep our cool and go on to the third track, “Rim Forest” which is sort of a progressive rock with generous hints of arena hard-rock. Next stop? Jazz and blues, because that is what we hear on “Mountain Pass Blues”. The John McLaughlin persona is back on the “Chacooonne” since this one sounds like the intro into the “Meeting of the Spirits”. The similarities are dropped later as the song is led into a different, yet interesting direction. The musicians continue to toy with the notion of jazz and blues, but it becomes clearer that they will soon want to present you new ideas.

With the seventh track, “After Math” we are entering the Frippian ambient part of the album. This is one of the better songs on the album, in my opinion. Constructed over a subtle bass line by Davis, the tune starts as a Japanese miniature which morphs into a lament as soon as Henriques guitar joins in. The solo takes us all the way to the end, but we are left wanting for more. The album ends with two tracks that are electronic/ambient at best, as if that was the only territory not yet explored. Again, I am impressed with the music. It’s unique, has personality and substance.

I recognize ScienceNV as having a huge potential. If you are not bothered by heterogeneousness, I recommend “Really Loud Noises”. Once they decide to do something, these guys do it masterfully. Let’s hope that there will be more albums by this band and they will be more focused.

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