Antipop Consortium / Matthew Shipp

The Fight of the Century: Anti-Pop Consortium vs. Matthew Shipp

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He grooves, he dances (figuratively) on his keys, he delights with phantasmagorical wonders: He is none other than the wondrous Matthew Shipp, who invites you into his den of magical juxtapositions. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, right this way, and open the doorway to new sounds, or at least combinations you never expected. This one matches the hip-hop conundrums of Anti Pop Consortium, who will wow you with its revolutionary discombobulations, with the cerebral machinations of free jazz wizard Matthew Shipp, who lays it down low with stretched fingers that scratch the pavement. The pianist brings with him old friends -- bassist William Parker, trumpeter Daniel Carter, drummer Guillermo E. Brown, and vibist Khan Jamal -- but when they confront the cool sounds of Anti Pop, they defer with respectful submission. The fireworks do not ignite the way they might have, but that is the nature of experimentation. Nevertheless, this is all great fun, a function of Shipp's slippery mind, and the results are not only danceable but disconcertingly so. Shipp is downright melodic for the most part, and even the hip hip-hoppers seem barely radical, and yet the outcome is not liable to be quite anything you've heard before. Sure, it crosses over and you have to suspend critical analysis, at least sometimes, but kudos to Anti Pop and Shipp for expanding their horizons, for dreaming, and for trying something new and keeping it fresh.

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