Micro-East Collective

062099

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Named for the day it was recorded, Micro-East Collective's 062099 features two works by the experimental jazz-rock group: "Lament," an original arrangement of a traditional gypsy melody featured in the film Latcho Drom, and "Exploring the Metal Sphere," a three-movement suite chronicling the discovery of a metal planet. "Landing and Engagement," the first part of the work, employs buzzes, drones, and subtle percussion to convey the taut anticipation that begins the journey, while "Data Collection and Processing," the suite's heart, builds on its droning, atmospheric essence, adding otherworldly, fluttering flutes and hints of brass to create an ethereal yet tense mood. Oboes, bassoon, and cornet join in with discordant melodies about halfway through the piece and heighten its ominous nature, as do the extended cello lines. It culminates with trumpets and saxophones working their way from atonality to a dark, moody harmony. Finally, "Abandonment, Liftoff and Escape" explodes into free jazz cacophony -- suggesting the mission wasn't entirely successful -- then reverts back to the rest of the suite's meditative nature. Though it may not be the most accessible work, 062099's interesting concept and uncompromising execution make for a strong, expressive debut album.

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