Anteloper- Tour Beats Vol. 1 (International Anthem, 2020) **** ~ The Free Jazz Collective

Written by on August 30, 2020

By Martin Schray

Anteloper is the electro-acoustic duo of trumpeter Jaimie Branch and drummer
Jason Nazary. Tour Beats Vol. 1 is their second album after their 2018

, a cassette only release, which explored gritty soundscapes with the
urban sonic edge intertwined with plenty of melodic-textural hooks. Branch
had the idea for that project in 2018 when she had a residency at Pioneer
Works, a former shipping container which is now a studio in Brooklyn, NY. She already
knew Jason Nazary from earlier, and he joined her bringing not only his drums,
but also lots of electronic stuff like a modular FX unit, synths,
sequencers and processors. Branch, who regularly uses electronic devices
like synths and delay/looper pedals for her music as well, engineered the
session. In 2019 the duo went on tour and they self-produced a super
limited-edition tape, Tour Beats Vol. 1, which features recordings from
those Pioneer Works sessions, and Branch’s current label International
Anthem, possibly the hippest address in avant-garde music at the moment,
has decided to release a vinyl and download version.

The idea to combine acoustic drum’n’bass beats with old school electronics
and a net of synth sounds might still be a strange concept for some improv
fundamentalists, but then again that’s what makes Branch and Nazary’s
approach such an inspiring improvisational framework. The percussive
drizzle of “Bubble Under“ brings out the obvious linear qualities in
Branch’s playing excellently; she sends jagged, gurgling, yet melodic lines
and gnarled knots of notes sailing over the programmed clatter, sounding
almost like a modern Miles Davis extemporizing over a riff. On “Isotope
420°“ she intricately laces the stuttering snare-beats and repetitive heavy
water drop sounds with simple melodies. If there’s a weakness on this album
it’s the monotonous electronic bass sounds (on “RADAR radio“, e.g.) or the
rather simple synth carpets, but Branch’s trumpet is always able to save
the tracks. Throughout the album, Branch successfully adapts her distinctive
instrumental language of blurred notes, dreamy hook lines and eccentric
trills to an environment, which can only partly be identified as her
natural playground. However, her playing is always very lively and she
seems to enjoy it a lot. That sense of delight isn’t a by-product but a
desired outcome, an audible manifestation of the play in playing. Nazary
challenges Branch in ways that her Fly Or Die band doesn’t – and therein
lies the benefit for the free-improv community.

Anteloper’s Tour Beats Vol. 1 is now available on 45RPM 12’ vinyl in a
package featuring artwork by Branch, photos by Richard Ross, and liner
notes by Rob Mazurek. It’s also available as a download.

You can listen to it and buy it on Bandcamp. 

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