Yuganaut

Sharks

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AllMusic Review by

A second recording for the experimental trio Yuganaut has them exploring more of the free experimental, improvised music that sets them apart from nearly any other similar ensemble. What is most noticeable about the group is the restless nature of their sound palettes, as bassist Tom Abbs, keyboardist Stephen Rush, and drummer Geoff Mann tend to move around on different instruments. You might hear any of them on brass (Abbs on tuba; Mann on trumpet; or Rush on trombone), or violin, didgeridoo, toys, or various percussion. But even more so, the electronic trappings of Rush on Moog or Fender Rhodes identifies the elusive, under-the-surface nature of Sharks. You hear bop on Mars from the group during "Wrenchwork," as the probing bass of Abbs punctuates stabbing electronics and African-style percussion, while Rush's pretty piano in nice song-like form buoys "Again, and Sweetly," and a playful ostinato sets Rush up to use animal sounds on slide whistle and some distinct quackery during "See Saw." Throughout the date (recorded in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, where Rush is the director of the digital music program), the spontaneous nature of this music, and quick thinking by the three musicians is evident. Mann gets a drum workout with Abbs over Rush's whirring keyboard for the eventual feeding frenzy of "Landfill/Sharks"; there's the churning "Vger" for a brief bit while the band constructs spooky themes, then breaks them up, stopping and moving beyond argumentative whining and clacking for "Breakthrough/Zhu." If you are willing to listen closely, Yuganaut yields a veritable potpourri of sound and fury, or even delicate, whimsical fantasy music.

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