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Last Year's Ghost
Daniel Spicer
On the strength of this debut from the Chicago-based drummer's quintet, Reed seems as familiar with that great city's more recent post-rock output as he does with its long jazz heritage. "Day of the Dead" and "Ghost Writer" both have a crisp, Tortoise-esque feel, with the cerebral application of vibes and a refreshing lack of jazz cliché; "The Entire State of Florida" is a noirish, urban swinger with snappy drums and a deep walking bass line that projects black and white images of rainy, uptown streets directly onto the mind's eye; and sonorous cello lends a touch of the academy to "Afterthoughts" and "Simone's Crumbs" - the album's two measured and elegaic ballads. These longer tracks are interspersed with brief vignettes - calling on juddering noise-scrape, intense freedom-splurge and anxious improv - all pulled off with convincing panache. It's intelligent, contemporary American music with lashings of PoMo cleverness and plenty to say.
Back to Loose Assembly: Last Year's Ghost album page.
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