Out of the Basement

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Doot, a drum'n'bass duo from New Haven, proclaims they are Out of the Basement on this unnumbered debut release. Once upon a time, the listening public would have made damn sure a duo consisting of only a drummer and a bassist would stay down in the basement, but things changed forever regarding this instrumental no-no oncejungle music came along. For this type of drum'n'bass music, Doot makes an absolutely superior contribution in the slippery, slimy "Creature Barz," which unfortunately fades out well before it needs to. Technically, Doot comes not out of a basement, but out of the rhythm section of a Captain Beefheart cover band also based out of New Haven, Doctor Dark. Like the latter group, Doot performs well out of the limited New Haven axis at events such as the 2006 Zappanale festival in East Germany. Doctor Dark used to practice in a basement, however, so perhaps the title is as apt as can be. A bit more prone to misunderstanding is the descriptive line of "all tracks recorded live, no overdubs" in the liner notes. Yes, but bassist Pete Brunelli does his overdubbing as he goes along with a sequencing/playback unit. He does a pretty good job keeping this interesting; because of this mainstay aspect of Doot's technical approach, the group's repertoire is built up from unusual riffs appropriated from expected sources: Beefheart, Zappa, and Jimi Hendrix. In addition, there are improvised pieces that border on fascinating due to the serious accumulation of weird ideas these two players have. Drummer Steve Chillemi seems to make a perfect partner for Brunelli, tacking the music together with the reliable solidity of a seasoned carpenter framing a building, which is more than can be said for the lowlife insurance company rebuilding his burned out studio. If a bassist is going to be a main soloist, then the drum'n'bass configuration makes perfect sense. Such simple, effective and deep rhythmic patterns will never overwhelm an improvising bassist. When left on his own, as in the introduction to the CD title track, Brunelli plays beautifully and his wah-wah work on the Nendrix is marvelous, served up on a silver platter of snare drum and cymbal patterns.