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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Thirsty Ear Recordings

Rating: 6/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The idea of not judging a book by its cover can be extended to not judging an album by its members or its generic categorization. Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte are two renowned jazzmen with excellent visions for the future of contemporary jazz. Throw guest contributor, alto sax player Greg Osby, into the mix, and you have a potentially formidable power trio at hand.

Groundtruther is the brainchild of Hunter and Previte, made to create a trilogy of releases starting with Latitude. Each of the three albums will feature a special guest musician, with Blue Note recording artist Osby as the first to help out.

Hunter is highly regarded as guitar virtuoso. He plays a custom-made 8-string electric guitar that allows him to capture both unique guitar chords and bass lines into his tight improvisational playing. Previte handles the drumming capacities of Latitude with a touch of electronics that rarely lend a hand in the world of jazz. He is also known as a composer and band leader, and these credits are evident as many of the tracks are led into eerie electronic phantom jams.

Latitude is not your typical trading-8s old time jazz homage, nor is it a contemporary soft jazz record with a penchant for a sax solo. The starting bookend of the trilogy is jazz only by description - random instrumentation, heavily instrumental overall, with a non-mainstream appeal. A more resounding feel for the album is a spacey flow that the electronic essences meld everything into. Hunter's elevated playing style remains strictly in the background while errant sax yelps and electronic drum kit triggers fill the foreground with intense, effected noises.

The album fails to truly stray from the omnipresent ethereal strokes of electronic sound. Some tracks would be best placed on the score of a murder mystery film. At many times in these jamming moments, Previte extends his role into an all-out electronic sampler and relinquishes any semblance of rhythmic flow that could have been established. The compositions that do have a concrete connection between the instruments reek of DJ production and don't ever let the natural sounds of the guitar, drums, or sax speak for themselves.

With their first effort, Groundtruther creates an album that is more for the group members than anyone else. Those who are fans of these musicians on a technical level would be better off waiting for trilogy Parts II and III (Longitude and Altitude) or listening to their previously released material. For those that are open to the interpretations to the future of jazz-influenced music, then Latitude might be right for you.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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