Rick Parker – Trombone
Kellen Harrison – Bass
Dane Johnson – Guitar
Eyal Maoz - Guitar
Shawn Baltazor – Drums
Bryan Beninghove – Sax and compositions
Track 1: Jack Miller
I’m already stuck with a John Zorn Naked City Film Noir feel, with the guess that at any time now it all may end up falling apart into madness. The electric guitar and drums stick out in the mix as elements that might bring the craziness, bring the noise. It’s almost tongue and cheek, while also sounding syrupy and dark. It’s jazz in a haunted house!
Track 2: Xopo
I hate to keep adding the Zorn references, but this reminds me of a mix of Electric Masada and the Secret Chiefs, with it’s electric and odd meter groove, mixed with “ethnic” sounding scales (for lack of a better term). I’m already amazed at how large the group sounds, with only a sextet. The guitar is very present, but never overpowering, really nasty tone that fits this band perfectly! Some of the horn play towards the end of the track, takes me back to the “Italian Instabile Orchestra,” probably just the unique sound of trombone and saxophone. Now we are going even more metal for the outhead, I’m really digging this record!
Track 3: Rave Melodique
I go back to my tongue and cheek observation earlier, it sounds Parisian, and then slightly off, like a warped visit to a French surrealist theatre, and the absinthe is coming in short waves. It still seems on the verge of breaking totally out, but stays on the fine edge of inside-ish.
Track 4: Tarantino (a tarantella)
I dig the play on words with the title, I always image a tarantella as a quick piece, because on string instruments it means the hand is supposed to look like a spider. The spider imagery works nonetheless with this piece. It’s so many things currently, kind of a whirlwind adventure of sound. This could be part of the Beetlejuice soundtrack! The pieces on the album all sound very unique to one another, while all having the same kind of compositional cohesiveness, which is this dark and slightly humorous sound, with a bit of quirk thrown in for good measure. The writing on here is really incredible, how it can make it all balance out in this musical statement of a record. This seems to have the most “classical” sounding melodic statements, and with the marching snare drum it gives it a certain air. Nice, the end of the tune did speed up and break apart for a second, into a dirge like ending.
Track 5: Reject’s Lament
It’s night, starting to rain, you’re on a street by yourself, a pretty dame walks under a light and you catch a glimpse of her…. Man this screams of film noir! Great writing, nice harmonies with the two horns, and the guitar adding that Marc Ribot touch. The saxophonist is coming in and out of some klezmer sounding ideas, segueing into a nice guitar solo. We’re working with multiple guitar parts, and the sounds coming out are perfect, they way it was mixed to have the different sounds and the noise coming together like it is. I see there is a later track titled “film sketch 1,” but I think this has a lot of potential for film scoring music (and of course is great stand alone music!).
Track 6: The Puppetmaster
This one starts off nasty and heavy, and there is more of an old school gangster sound. The mix of the guitar and its effects works really well with the sound of this group, I keep listening over to hear what the guitar is doing under all of this, and I really like it! The trombone with mute adds a good sound to this tune, keeping it nasty! The outhead is a little more whimsical, as this tune winds down, like a freaky merry go round.
Track 7: Sushi Tango
This band is great at playing different genres, as we’re now digging into a gypsy tango vibe. I’m still listening for the “sushi.” Woah, maybe now we’re in sushi land, as the tempo picked up, and it’s very island themed now! That came out of nowhere, yet still fits the tune well. It started as a delicate tune, and with all the intent and heavier dynamics and feel, it still seems to remain that in the end. Back to the islander theme to end the piece!
Track 8: H Bomb
Dick Dale surf rock licks, but heavy and dark and some odd meter thrown in for good measure. Regardless of the accompaniment or solos on any of the tunes, they always stay true to the feel and style of the tune. Never does the solo seem to overshadow the composition, it is more of a musical element that adds to the overall piece. Some more sick guitar layers, that sounds like a robot having a seizure in the background, gaining more and more feedback and volume. H Bomb on the beach is my guess, with the surfer appeal that the tune has. Awesome!
Track 9: Quatro Loko
Spanish four loko, I dig, thinking high energy and some odd meter. The mean part came in for only a second, maybe that’s finding you’ve run out of four loko, and you NEED to have more. About one minute into the track and I can’t help but think of Marc Ribot and his Cuban band. This piece proves how tight this band is, more intricate parts, quick transitions, killing group!
Track 10: Hangmen’s Waltz
I’m expecting more darkness to come out of this. So far it’s a short, simple and beautiful tune, beautiful with this cloud hanging over it. All through composed start to finish, and elegant track, possibly a precursor to madness (let’s see what follows this up).
Track 11: Roadhouse
I heard the beginning as a chain saw, before the bluesy shuffle tune came in. The guitar plays an important role here, filling out the sound, where normally you might hear an organ in the mix. There’s some howls, some growls, some wolf sounds, and it’s getting to a point of running out of steam, and might break down completely. The theme slowed, and picked up again, and quiets down a little, and picking up even more. This is sounding Mingus inspired, better get hit in yo soul music, like a preacher in the middle of a bar, savin’ some souls. One of my favorites so far I think!
Track 12: Film Sketch 1
I like this guitar effects heavy intro, lots of non-traditional sounding things going on, and with the quick cut like that, it’s like early zeppelin or pink floyd using the studio as an instrument. Into a beautiful trombone feature, and some bowed bass coming in from the background. I wonder if this is written for an actual film, or the story behind this piece. The saxophone comes in and takes off the melody from the trombone, with some nice dialogue in the guitar. It’s good to hear the bass with the melody, this track seems to feature everyone (except the drums) coming out to the forefront. This is a weighted piece that I would like to know what the film element is, but can only guess.
This is a great record from the group Beninghove’s Hangmen. You should BUY THIS ALBUM, good music to fit your film noir needs. Perfect driving music, put on a scary black and white silent film and listen to it, or party music! Do it, buy the music, you won’t regret it!!
Next up on the blog, more Tony Malaby articles and transcriptions, and more CD reviews coming your way!