Black Mask

William Hooker

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Black Mask Review

by Glenn Astarita

New York City-based drummer William Hooker continues his genre-splitting efforts on this 2002 production. Besides performing with folks such as Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, the drummer is primarily recognized for his interrogation of the avant-garde amid New York's generally fruitful downtown scene. His polyrhythmic method of attack is evident on this release featuring duet pieces with violinist Jason Hwang, accordionist Andrea Parkins, and saxophonist Roy Nathanson. And while Hooker propels his bandmates via thrusting, odd-metered beats and his colossal wall of sound, he generates additional emphasis thanks to his subversive groans and yells. Thus, the artist spurs his associates onward throughout these curiously interesting pieces. On the works titled "Volatility" and "Orange," Hooker and Parkins generate a surreal set of themes, further enhanced by Parkins' cagey utilization of electronics. Hooker's duets with Hwang are based upon climactic progressions, in concert with the latter's downright vicious lead soloing. On "An Unknown Feeling," Hooker and Nathanson explore a hodgepodge of micro-motifs, disparate tonalities, and variable flows. Consequently, this outing comes highly recommended for those who require a little more than just caffeine for their daily upsurge of energy.

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