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Matt Nelson - Lower Bottoms LP (Tubapede)

Matt Nelson Lower Bottoms Tubapede
6 November 2014

Tenor saxophonist, Matt Nelson (tUnEĀ­-yArDs, Battle Trance), delivers a solo debut that explores sonic textures ranging from melodicism to outright noise.

Lower Bottoms shows how Nelson’s use of guitar pedals expands the possibilities of his instrument, creating visceral soundscapes that go beyond the limitations of pure solo saxophone. “Sunk Cost” opens with a lyrical phrase that quickly transforms into static and squelch, with bits of saxophone wafting through the whoosh, much like Noteherder & McCloud’s dark Brighton experiments. The fascinating “Sworn Enemies” follows, Nelson using his palette of effects to compose something closer to Merzbow’s early tapes than jazz. On “Motor Mouth,” the distortion is kept at a minimum as the saxophonist builds from a melodic series of notes to frantic schizophrenic jibber-jabber. Finally, “To Believe in What” finalizes the album with an intense drone reminiscent of Diamond Terrifier on a Buddhist rampage. It’s an astonishing, forward-thinking collection of compositions that pushes the boundaries of what jazz is and what it could be.

Sure the use of effects pedals with saxophone is quite unorthodox, and some purists may not agree with it, but, ultimately, Matt Nelson is searching for the realm beyond breath and reeds, into territory rarely traversed. Blast Lower Bottoms to feel just how far out the saxophone can get.


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