. issue XVII : iii .

by barathron

. artist : dumb waiter .
. album : is this chocolate? .
. year : 2013 .
. label : self-released .
. grade : beyond .

Dumb Waiter

I love a parade.

Okay, wait, let me rivet down here, settled industrial, and I meant to say I love a brass section. Metallurgy swinging trombones, threaded-plumber trumpets, battleaxe caber-wire tubas, spice rack saxophones, ‘setterarar ‘setterarar. (CONNOR SEZS: You edited out flutes, frenchy, and the ranging octave label parts. T.A.S.B. Edition.) A marching band finds field; any additional sectioning a performance space stage could require a bandleader. That’s a space issue with the outer layers of (gleaming curves and shapes and size placement of) any band (puzzle pieces above eight) of just where every piece goes on board. These winded instruments provide a different element to the vibes of sound-washing reverb; a blast punctual, with wider yarping mouth shapes than gamut vocabulary from bowed strings to plucked.

Background music, as a compliment, allows a mood to settle or an environment to grow; a field of fusing connection electric football, lit landscape. Dumb Waiter’s release Is This Chocolate? should forget the question mark and finish making a statement. Even in the distance this stuff from any set of speakers is shiny, scale staircasing, stone fireplace solid rock set percussion. The primal thumpings are energetic, frenetic kinetic sculptures of dynamic volume voyaging; traffic provides the energy but also the heat exchange of molecular mingling.

‘Math Rock,’ as a phrase, raised ink turn of this last century when Kid A was in the New Yorker, Rolling Stone and The New Republic. Math Rock has represented fractions to me; I think of crowded decimal points: endless and infinitesimal decimals descending. Infinity’s children, all individual numbers of infinite and every value, multiples of every multiple to be divided evenly over a battered field order. Math Rock always meant how many notes fit into this measure of music, and how many more can I make fit concurrently congruent. (CONNOR SEZS: Or, how to expand organically the limits of time, therefore possibly space, and always the option of other forms.) The word math also implies an amount of education, the forceful presence with each instrument’s introduction confirms.

The little lyricism that allows itself in the music, whether incantation choral or the song titles themselves, make medieval-proven remedies greatest-hits list a scientific method. Humors of blood, bile, phlegm, saliva and other tangible materials serve better. The modernism makes a one man avant garde, overloaded with a responsibility as well as a flag, field glass, musket, and smartphone all alone. (CONNOR SEZS: These are my kinds of musics.)

“Sports Reference” is a deceptive dance tune with a glorious ska break. The dramatic jagged can opener of “Insectaconduit” insectatcons ambient sounds orchestrated to transform into the megazord gundam machine, whirring construction occurring in real time to []. Blasting off and away to “Vegan Mustache Jazz” finds the stringed violin (?) playing off against those naughty horns in an attempt to tame tinged headbanging strum rhythm. Eardrum tenderizeroni is what I like; brush cymbals back to that deceptive muzak re-arrangement experiment, phased faded sunset to stunning kilter: extemporaneous tempo change, foot stomping marathon pacing, orange sherbet and strawberry rose gelato. “Indubitably Dumbfounded” has this same drum fill cresting the wave of the brass section, cresting the bassline for a sea current of washing sound. Each instrument swimming in this ocean, inflating to lifeboat the ear at measure for measure, in almost unrehearsed and surely spontaneous synchronized swim.

“Total Trappist Tragedy” balances all of these songs into perfection for me. Stringy opening contrasts the previous tracks in terms of speed and tone, eventual hitting speed and the ramp for an all beating assault (including Carmina Burana vowels vocals). This illusion of being out of control, a polka exorcism breakdown sound, except the coordination of space within a whirlwind of instrument and musician is an exercise in every sense of the word.

“Rub-a-dub-dub” is a short ocean cruise reminding me of Broken Social Scene’s “Shoreline”: the pacific, rocky cold, difficult and overcast winterized tour on highway one oh one (in binary, also my most classic of crutch lines), without a single word image. The song follows a journey from San Diego all the way up to Vancouver, with Santa Barbara the only clear spot of sun.

“Neologizer” eats the same way. You feel as if the band can taffy stretch jam out a bit more, now relaxed; wearing in a pair of leather shoes and leather underwear since the start of the album.

This fin de siècle jazz band with Satie sensibility says “Noise Band” but the cacophony is tabbed organized and layered, structural perfection in timeless remodel.

by Perkus Tooth