Slippery slide-bass melodies and funky electro-acoustic beats meet groove-grounded basslines and DJ-styled samplings on Jet Black Crayon's debut EP-CD, Command Z. A San Francisco Mission District quartet, Jet Black Crayon came together when bassist Tommy Guerrero was asked to play a live show in support of his Loose Grooves & Bastard Blues CD. Tommy Guerrero initially accosted longtime skateboarding associate Monte Vallier of Swell, asking him if he would play "bass/slide-bass/fx" in the project. With Vallier obliging, Guerrero then turned to Gadget, asking him to provide sundry samples and scratched vinyl sounds for the project. With Gadget agreeing, Guerrero finally approached drummer Tim DeGaugh, requesting his syncopated input. As he agreed to create beats, a unique quartet -- comprised of two bass players, a drummer, and a DJ -- was born. After a successful debut show and a string of similarly pleasing repeat performances, the instrumental quartet recorded Command Z. A moody set of tracks that fluctuate between harmonically laden zero-gravity passages and tight, booty-shaking progressions, Command Z projects a relaxed and fluid aura while maintaining thrust. On the song "Pescado Frito," Tommy Guerrero and Monte Vallier layer flattering basslines over Tim DeGaugh's fine pop beat and Gadget's school of whale sounds. With the CD's third track, the distortion and siren-laced "The Tree," Jet Black Crayon both picks up the pace and sharpens the rhythmic edge without losing the flow factor. Overall, Jet Black Crayon's Command Z is a successful CD that integrates sensitive dynamics, accomplished musicianship, and an experimental disposition with a smooth, undulating sound.
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AllMusic Review by John Vallier