Styles: experimental improv jazz, abstract ambient timbre collage, minimalism
Others: Cold Bleak Heat, Art Ensemble of Chicago, less deafening Wolf Eyes
After taking about a week or two to fully absorb Unstable Ensemble's third full length (which happens to consist solely of live improvised recordings from a tour they did back in the summer of 2003), I have decided to conduct an experiment. However, an introduction to the Unstable Ensemble will be necessary before I cut to the chase. The music on Embers is soft to start and slow to kick in, if you could even call what it does kicking in. It is low key and for the most part quiet, though the dynamic range it spans is quite large. The opening track, "Everything Vibrates," starts with minutes of silence/very quiet, subtle noises, which slowly crescendos into bombastic yet extremely airy free-jazz. The main instruments on the recordings are electric guitar, alto & soprano sax (though never at the same time), percussion, and "mixing board, cassette recorder," which is remarkable, considering the scope of their sound. And that mixing board isn't used to mix the group. Instead it's played to sound similar to a Theremin, resulting in a lot of high-pitched squealing over the course of the album. And though it's not credited, the group's wildcard instrument is undoubtedly silence, which presumably gives them such an unstable sound.
Now for the experimental part. I arrived at work an hour late today after seeing the GZA last night. I also decided not to have my usual iced latte in the morning (they have a machine at work, I don't pay for that shit). Anyway, by about 2:30 or 3:00 this afternoon, my boss said I looked as if I were asleep with my eyes opened and recommended making some coffee to wake me up. She recommended six shots, so I ran the machine through five times before I ran out of ground beans. It would have been good to note at the time that once through the machine is two shots, but the concept escaped me. Here are the results:
- Unstable Ensemble's Embers
- Approx. 250 mg Caffeine (two and a half cups of drip coffee or 10 shots of espresso)
- Nicotine fit (no cigarettes all day, but kind of addicted to them)
- Not much food. Don't really have the desire to eat dinner though.
- Feel like a fucking speed freak.
- Leg is now twitching.
- High anxiety in more silent moments
- Noticeable relief during intense parts
- Anger at high pitched squealing.
- Enjoyment of high pitched squealing.
- Desire to be productive and write an album review.
- If your environment is already unstable, Unstable Ensemble may not be the best thing to listen to, unless you desire more instability or something to match the mood. If you happen to desire such, Unstable Ensemble will not cease to let you down. Same goes for if you desire some calm drone-y music that doesn't get boring.
- "Hey, this band is pretty fucking incredible."
- Unless you're out of speed and going through withdrawals, don't drink 10 shots of espresso in one sitting.
- How is drinking this much coffee legal?
1. Everything Vibrates
2. Better Up North
4. Black Wing