Muddy World

Finery of the Storm

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Finery of the Storm is the first American album by Tokyo's Muddy World. A young band, signed to John Zorn's Tzadik label, they sound nothing like any of the other "New Japan" acts in the series. For starters, these cats are not in any way, shape or form, a "noise band." They are brilliant musicians skilled in the art of counterpoint, modalism, world music (particularly nuevo flamenco and the rhythmic invention of reggae) and the complexities of jazz composition and performance. They understand that grooves are not merely a platform for pyrotechnics but also create memorable songs -- even instrumental ones. These ten cuts range in length and breadth from the staccato elegance of "Iron Ant," which clocks in at just under four minutes, to the staggering beauty of "Muddy Floor," which nears the seven-minute mark and layers breezy vocals by guitarist Soeda Yusuke inside the advanced melodic structures and harmonics. The latter track ricochets -- albeit seamlessly -- from flamenco lyric phrases and intricate cadences that become their own rhythms to refined riffing, creating a polysyllabic group feel in both dimension and texture. The interplay between drummer Sugita Kohei and bassist Murakami Keita on this track is literally stunning. The angular driven funk of "Cut" is nearly math rock in its approach but has enough built-in emotion to resist easy categorization. The final cut, "Neon," is pure ambient drift and is as close to formless as anything this trio will ever play. Finery of the Storm is a major debut.

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