President's Breakfast

III C

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No one's ever going to accuse President's Breakfast of being lightweight listening. Starting off with messages from death row, this is a challenging journey through avant-garde jazz, post-rock, dub, and points beyond that don't even have names yet. The anchor point -- if there is just one -- is a version of John Coltrane's "Love Supreme" that would probably please its composer (even down to the inclusion of bagpipes on "Part III"). Written, arranged, and produced by Bill Langton, who doesn't play on the disc, the whole record is political (a portion of the profits go to the Campaign to End the Death Penalty), with a contribution from jailed activist Mumia Abu-Jamal -- its final 16 short tracks are samples available for anyone to lift. But by the time you reach them, your head will have been turned around by the music."Dub Catapult" is exactly what it says, a sonic foray into the Jamaican technique, while the opening of "Extenuating Circumstances" is an annoying as a buzzing fly before its deconstruction of sound over rhythm. In essence, this is more of what President's Breakfast have done before, dangerous and decidedly edgy, but never less than adventurous, even on the (relatively) straight "Rooscus Brothers," an exploration of piratical funk with its Stax horns punctuating the sound. Remarkable playing, wonderful vision, and as far removed from the mainstream as it's possible to get.

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