Pasa Tem­pos Mu­sic by Tweedy and the Vi­jay Iyer Trio

Pasatiempo - - NEWS -

VI­JAY IYER TRIO Break Stuff (ECM) Placid, dark pi­ano tones open “Star­lings,” the first of a dozen tunes on Vi­jay Iyer’s new­est al­bum, and his first with ECM with his 11-year-old trio. This is a real unit, with Mar­cus Gil­more’s dy­namic drum­beats and cym­bal-shim­mers and Stephan Crump’s spare bass thrum­mings thor­oughly em­bed­ding in the mix led by pi­anist Iyer. The long intro to “Chorale” is ap­pro­pri­ately stately and natty, but it also has an air of sus­pense; then the trio breaks into a much knot­tier, densely cre­ative groove. This track and the al­bum’s three bird-themed tunes (”Geese” and “Wrens” are the two be­sides the al­bum’s first song) had their ori­gins in a suite Iyer pre­sented — in col­lab­o­ra­tion with 19 in­stru­men­tal­ists and the nov­el­ist Teju Cole — af­ter win­ning a MacArthur Foun­da­tion fel­low­ship. On “Dip­tych,” the leader treads fas­ci­nat­ing har­monic ter­ri­to­ries that in­clude dis­crete melodic state­ments; small, tan­gled clus­ters; clear multinote arpeg­gios; and oc­ca­sional min­i­mal­is­tic mo­ments against Crump’s busy thump­ing and Gil­more’s in­ces­sant, off-kil­ter rhythm. “Hood,” com­plex, open, and hyp­notic, is rem­i­nis­cent of Terry Ri­ley’s In C . It’s fas­ci­nat­ing lis­ten­ing to any one of the three mu­si­cians, but their to­tal­ity is close to tran­scen­dent. The ti­tle track is a good place to pay at­ten­tion to the al­bum’s seem­ingly quizzi­cal theme. As Iyer says in the liner notes, “A break in mu­sic is still mu­sic: a span of time in which to act.” While not al­ways ac­ces­si­ble — the re­la­tion­ships here to blues and swing can be quite ab­stract — Break Stuff is phys­i­cal, in­tu­itive, in­tel­lec­tual, and emo­tional. That is, it’s ex­cit­ing.— Paul Wei­de­man

TWEEDY Sukierae (dBpm/ANTI-Records) For the av­er­age kid, the most ex­cite­ment to be rea­son­ably ex­pected from take-your-child-towork day might in­volve xerox­ing his or her but­tocks on the com­pany pho­to­copier. That’s prob­a­bly be­cause the av­er­age kid doesn’t have Jeff Tweedy for a fa­ther. Last year, the leader of Wilco re­leased an al­bum of orig­i­nal ma­te­rial called Sukierae , which fea­tures his eigh­teen-year-old son, Spencer, on drums. The side project is called Tweedy and both mem­bers are in con­cert at the Lensic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter on Thurs­day, March 26. The fa­ther-son part­ner­ship seems a fruit­ful one, so far pro­duc­ing 20 songs on a dou­ble al­bum. The el­der Tweedy has said that to pre­pare for this project, he wrote and recorded about 90 songs. The ones that made the cut are re­li­able — if not ground­break­ing — drawing more on the front­man’s rock chops than on his folk ones. The younger Tweedy proves able to keep up with his sea­soned fore­bear, drum­ming with pur­pose. The track “World Away,” which is rooted in a 7/4 time sig­na­ture — dreaded by many drum­mers — serves as an early prov­ing ground for Spencer. In the next track, “Di­a­mond Light Pt. 1,” his drum­ming be­comes more fre­netic, in con­trast with his dad’s spaced-out vo­cals and par­al­lel airy gui­tar line. Sim­i­lar shifts in feel play out from song to song through to the al­bum’s close, mak­ing this dou­ble record­ing well worth a lis­ten in con­sec­u­tive or­der, as was in­tended. — Loren Bien­venu

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