♫♪  Dean Blunt - “Free Jazz” [live at Cafe Oto]

On April 1, Dean Blunt and an ensemble of artists — including three pianists (Blunt, Joanne Robertson, Emil Elg), three saxophonists (Asger Hartvig, Shabaka Hutchins, Bradley Miller), two guitarists (Blunt, Robertson), a bass player (Elg), and vocalist Liquid Thompson — gathered in London’s Cafe Oto for a show dubbed “Free Jazz.” And that it was: in just under an hour, the octet blazed through an alternately serene and terrifying set, featuring sharp transitions that took them from sprawling passages of space, mood, and texture, to pummeling, unforgiving blasts of sound that achieved an entirely different level of intensity altogether.

The set was structurally loose and flowing, but there are recurring musical themes and various textual anchors, particularly by Liquid Thompson, who reads material written by Blunt (who also takes the mic to mumble in the background and occasionally mutter “free jazz” just before a full-throttled assault). The words tend to deal with signifiers of “black identity,” with lyrical references to everyone from Wu-Tang to Jaja Soze to Sonic Youth. It’s about everything you’d expect from Blunt: a little confusing and a little cryptic, but incredibly incisive and delightfully unpredictable. Listen to the whole set here:

Meanwhile, Blunt’s Mersh 12-inch is out soon, as well as a full-length on Rough Trade called Black Metal.

• Dean Blunt: https://soundcloud.com/cplnd
• Rough Trade: http://www.roughtraderecords.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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