Strictly Routine

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Inheritors (perhaps unwittingly) of the loose, funky, rough-and-ready, vibe-heavy brand of fusion espoused by groups like the Everyman Band and the original Weather Report, the members of Monatomic have stated that their own context belongs among the plethora of jam bands that proliferated from the mid-'90s onward. But don't be fooled, Monatomic's debut release, Strictly Routine, is anything but; it is an unruly and ultimately satisfying amalgam of musical influences and innuendoes. It's unlikely that one will see this band in beads and caftans, warming-up for Phish and performing pseudo-Grateful Dead-style aimless improvisations. What one will hear is shades of James Brown, John Scofield, rock, reggae, King Crimson, West Africa, acid jazz, hip-hop, Santana, and the Beat movement. Whatever the genre or stylistic touchstone, it's certainly more exciting, more adventurous, and somehow more accessible than a lot of the so-called jazz music that was released near the end of the 20th century. Where has all the challenging instrumental music gone? Look no further -- odd time signatures, funky bottom, and go-for-broke solos abound on Strictly Routine, and what the members of Monatomic have yet to gain in experience they make up for with fire and musical abandon. Move over Modeski, Martin, & Wood.

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