The Motet

Instrumental Dissent

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The Boulder based jazz-jammers continue their world influenced explorations on this predominantly instrumental, nearly hour long project. The six-piece Motet gets off to an impressive start as the opening salvo of tunes darts between funk, Afro-beat, Latin and world sounds with a slight underpinning of electronic touches, all driven by a nimble yet fiery attack. Unfortunately the band can't quite maintain that pace and as the disc unwinds. Instrumental Dissent loses some of the imagination, if not steam, of the early tunes, becoming a solid yet rather conventional work from a jazz-funk fusion outfit. Scott Messersmith's bubbling percussion and drummer Dave Watts' elastic beats keep the heat turned up even when the tracks tend to extend longer than needed. Songs like the sax-driven "Blowback" veer too closely to Spyro Gyra's established approach, even though the playing remains on high boil. The production and especially the audio on this independently released album is never less than crackling, with Garrett Sayers' meaty and malleable bass driving the rhythm section. Many of the tracks blend into each other, creating a near seamless whole. Found voices from activists such as Harry Belafonte, Alice Walker, and Noam Chomsky among others try to infuse a political subtext to the otherwise non-vocal disc. The recordings of their speeches aren't mixed loud enough and although it's an interesting idea that provides the impetus behind the album's title and title track, the concept doesn't amount to much. Belafonte's distinctively hoarse voice is put to better use on "Music Is the Weapon," a plea for world peace. But with this act, it's the music that matters most and the Motet has recorded another quality set that will more than satisfy the band's core audience as well as attract some newcomers.

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