There is no list of personnel or location details disclosed in the packaging of Whiskey Road. So you can place SB anywhere you want and give it your favorite shape: a trio in your living room, a 30-piece quiet orchestra in a powered-down subway station, a sextet in an obscure, smoke-filled joint you happened to stumble into between a dark alley and a sex shop. The New York-based collective numbered probably between four and eight members for this concert. Whiskey Road consists of a continuous 40-minute improvisation. Clarinet, saxophone, maybe a shenai at some point, ambient electric guitar, electronics, bass, percussion, and vocals make up the instrumentation, but it is not easy to single out individual voices, since the music tends to flow drone-style, dragging all the contributions into its dirging center. Things remain quiet throughout, as much from the musicians' side as from the very small audience, but eventful. Analyzing the music as it unfolds yields little fruit. The constituting elements lack coherence to form an attention-grabbing whole. You have to let go, unplug the conscious, and let yourself drift off into the improvisation -- or use it as a backdrop for late-night reading. The music shares similarities with the ritualistic free improv of Jackie-O Motherfucker or the No-Neck Blues Band, but it remains firmly camped in something more ambient, devoid of any blues, rock, or folk influences, and therefore even less easy to grab.
Share this page