Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Iconoclast’s Noir Jazz Vibe is Unstoppable

This is what happens when you sleep on a great album – other people review it first. All About Jazz liked New York duo Iconoclast’s latest album Dirty Jazz; we love it. It unwinds like a good noir film score, which is unsurprising considering that noir has been their signature style pretty much since they played their first gig at CBGB. There’s a lot going on in this movie for the ears: gritty cityscapes, a menacing cast of characters, pretty much relentless suspense, occasional brutal violence and sudden shifts from one to the other. It’s picture-perfect, oldschool pre-gentrification New York. Julie Joslyn alternates between eerily crystalline alto sax lines and explosive violin cadenzas, while Leo Ciesa’s drums colors and shift the suspense as much as the sax does; he also adds moody piano and keyboards.

Several of the tableaux here are very brief, clocking in at less than two minutes, sometimes contrasting balmy sax with violent drums, other times more picturesque. The Regular, with his catchy 7/4 theme, is a real heavyweight; building off an eerie Sonic Youth-style drone, Animated Flesh might be a Frankenstein scenario, and Razoresque, a violin-metal vignette, is a fight to the bloody end. When Joslyn is at her most plaintive and poignant, these pieces pack the greatest punch, whether the on the spy theme You’re in Distress – where she overdubs a whole sax section – the deliciously tense, conversational Apres Vous, or the elegaic The Forbidden, driven by some decisive, Satie-esque piano from Ciesa. The most colorful of all of these is Black Jack, a mini-movie in itself featuring a deliciously dark, modal interlude from Joslyn that rises to a scream and finally a sprint through a chase scene. And Boiled Kneepads, a cinematic funk theme with psychedelic organ, could be an early 70s Herbie Hancock piece.

There’s also The Punishment Office with its menacingly psychedelic, shapeshifting, reverberating violin-metal ambience; the pretty, pensive One Oh One with its clave beat; the clever, cruelly sarcastic Accidental Touching and Mistaken Seduction, and the punk/no wave anthem I Am So Thirsty, where Joslyn’s unhinged, screaming vocals give voice to a tree in the global warming era. And that’s not even all of the album, one of the most viscerally gripping ones to come over the transom in recent months. Watch this space for upcoming NYC live dates.

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March 14, 2011 - Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

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  2. […] Lucid Culture Review […]

    Pingback by ICONOCLAST (Jazz Group) | Pack 6 – Palo Alto | June 18, 2013 | Reply


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