(Tooth & Claw)
What a cool find, a four piece bass clarinet quartet from California. Our expectations were not high going into this one, thinking perhaps this would be interesting and novel for the first two songs and than quickly become tiring. Shockingly, not the case here as the foursome perform various genres of music touching upon metal, jazz, ambient and progressive rock.
Edmund Welles', lead clarinetist, Cornelius Boots, is the creator and mastermind behind the quartet. The bass clarinet is known for its tremendous four-octave range, providing for some of the darkest tones to the most vibrant pleasures as it is often a standout amongst a large band. Tooth & Claw features twelve songs that are original works filled with both disturbing and very moving moments. For example, "The Butcher of Andalusia", creates a vision of unrest and unsettling movement. The layers of staccato are expanded and melody revisited to perfection almost taking you to another dimension. "Seventh Furnace" and "Trap Panel" are the most disturbing cuts of the lot, painting pictures of very dark places, almost harkening the underscore for an epic Tool track. "Passive Illumination" is a wondrous track of spacial importance well-suited to be placed inside a major dramatic motion picture.
The four clarinetists are at times brilliant in their technique and interplay, gelling superbly at many different levels of solo accompaniment that balance both melodic and rhythmic attention. The result is a very unique album that does not tire or bore providing for an original sonic experience your speakers will enjoy.
We found it an enjoyable break from requisite percussion and really found ourselves wrapped up in the unique texture and tonal spender. We are excited to have come across Edmund Welles, as we have nothing anyway near this in our expansive collection... a true outlier.
Standout Tracks: Passive Illumination, Elsie's Rain