Monday, July 1, 2013

Little Women, Lung

Little Women, an avant quartet based in New York, hit the ground running a while back with a very in-your-face offering, Throat. They return with a new one that marks a bit of a departure, Lung (AUM Fidelity 076).

The instrumentation is not exactly typical: Travis Laplante on tenor sax, Darius Jones, alto sax, Andrew Smiley, electric guitar, and Jason Nazary on drums. Like on the first album the band has worked out an interestingly eclectic mix of free and composed interplay. The first album hit it pretty hard most of the time for a skronk electricity and energy level way up there.

Lung goes a much more dynamic route. There are reflective, almost meditative moments of group ensemble texture and there are contrastive onslaughts that make for more "symphonic" (if you will) climaxes. It's one continuous work lasting 42 minutes. The last section is flat-out power, high-electric skronk, avant free-post-Beefheartian slamming. This isn't about individual solos as much as it is about collective sound.

That it builds into such a literally heavy end-section makes the listening experience that much more mesmerizing, absorbing. It's quite a feat and shows you that Little Women have their own sense of how to change things up, how to make it all different. They do that.

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