Thursday, May 25, 2017

On Fillmore, Happiness of Living

If music doesn't immediately shout at you, "I am this or I am that!" as you first hear it, a number of things might happen. You might reject it out of hand because it is not enough "this" or not enough "that." That may make you angry or confused. "How dare they make me work at what I want to be immediate!" you might think. Or you may try and get used to its refusal to straddle one thing or another. You may come to see what the music does as in time you find it comparable to other mixtures. Or it will not seem comparable but you will find that in the end it pleases you.

That any number of the above reactions may apply to the group On Fillmore and their album Happiness of Living (Northern Spy 083) seems to me inevitable. The back cover informs us that "On Fillmore is Darin Gray and Glenn Kotche." OK? The inside liners, orange with light yellow type, a highly unreadable combo alas, tells us that another seven artists are involved: percussionists, guitarists, electricians, vocalists, drummers, a tape-ologist, and etc.

The music has a kind of polyrhythmic Afro-ethnicity to it, an alt rock lineage maybe, and a compositional-song set of structures that puts the whole thing in motion.

It is not a guitar or bass spotlight. Everything melds together. Sometimes the vocals remind me a little of South African group sings, sometimes not.

And as I listen and relisten I get a feeling that nothing quite compares to this one. But also that it is good, this new something. Hear, hear.

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