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Ches Smith and These Arches: Hammered (2013)

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Ches Smith and These Arches: Hammered Drummer, composer, and bandleader Ches Smith is an artist with indisputable abilities who thrives on the fringes whether supplying tight rhythms for notable musicians such as guitarist Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot
b.1954
guitar
, saxophonist Darius Jones
Darius Jones
Darius Jones

sax, alto
, and the indie rock band Xiu Xiu, or creating self-produced works like his solo multi-instrumental electronic project Psycho Predictions (Preposterous Bee,2012).

One of Smith's working bands is These Arches, a group of like-minded artists that provide plenty of forward thinking music in Hammered, the appropriately titled follow-up to 2010's Finally Out Of My Hands(Skirl Records). From start to finish, Smith's eight "tunes" deliver a sonic maelstrom of tonal contours and interchanging themes which are filled with intensity and chaotic movements.

Heavyweights Tony Malaby
Tony Malaby
Tony Malaby

sax, tenor
and Tim Berne
Tim Berne
Tim Berne
b.1954
saxophone
express their saxophones in a variety of screeches, growls, and piercing runs on the opener "Frisner" and the title track where Smith's free-jazz/ rock attitude is in full bloom. Its "garage band" appeal is thick with a stomping backbeat, an array of cool effects from guitarist Mary Halvorson and Andrea Parkins
Andrea Parkins
Andrea Parkins

accordion
's rustic accordion intonations.

The music is at times disconcerting and makes no qualms about its brash intent, although the quieter theme of "Limitations" allows a brief moment of respite. Turbulent winds begin to stir again in the unsettling "Learned From Jamie Stewart" which was originally penned for the band Xiu Xiu and a rave-like party ensues in the boisterous "Animal Collection" before the set closes with "This Might Be A Fade Out" highlighted by a memorable solo from Smith.

These diverse sounds collide and coalesce, blurring the music lines between improvisational and not-so-mainstream music. Smith states the origin behind these peculiar selections, "They're sort of rock reject tunes, and that gave a shape to the whole record." Like the sentiments of the 1997 rap song by the Shop Boyz, Ches Smith and These Arches "Party Like a Rock Star" with Hammered albeit in totally different ways.


Track Listing: Frisner; Wilson Phillip; Dead Battery; Hammered; Limitations; Learned From Jamie Stewart; Animal Collection; This Might Be A Fade Out.

Personnel: Ches Smith: drums, percussion; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Andrea Parkins: accordion, organ, electronics.

Record Label: Clean Feed Records


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