Enuma Elish - "Leviathan"
(Lithiq 2004, CD 805130-0003-22)
From Aural Innovations #30 (February 2005)
"Leviathan" is the long awaited sophmore release by jazz/electronica/trip skronk pioneers Enuma Elish which features Warren Jones on bass clarinet, bassoon, tenor sax, mizmar, and electronics and Yuri Zbitnoff on electro acoustic percussion. So on to the review; LEVIATHAN: slow, creepy, cool drums keys etc. The first time I listened to this CD I thought it was lame ( I musta been in a bad mood) but now it sounds pretty great if not a bit commercial sounding in some unexplainable way. Like studio musicians commissioned to record a "weird" CD? At around six minutes this song really starts flying, strong uptempo drumming, all kinds of crazy shit flying around. I have to admit tho a pretty badass song. Recorded in August 2002, "Leviathan" builds on many of Enuma's sonic trademarks while simultaneously pushing their sound into new directions. DEMON MASK: clomping noises, people talking, then tribal drums, assorted sounds, prolly the bass clarinet? Or mizmar (whatever that is), my 1981 dictionary doesn't have it. Gets very whiteboy jazzy... must be the tenor sax, my cats seem to be in pain. OK it's one thing when Coltrane does this but when Warren in Boston does it, it's "another" thing. I'm sure he's very cool and has dreadlocks or something. No, I see the photo now, lumpy 30 something white guys with short hair and glasses. Did I mention the packaging is very nice, it appears to be the area of Boston that looks like 5000 BC Cambodia. NAMPA: So now we've changed genres to 1972 Funkrock, again some commercialness that takes away. Gets stranger and more undefinable. I have to admit the production is pretty killer. OK this is pretty great... the press release says "all the tracks are single real time performances and are devoid of any postproduction editing or manipulation." Oh, great sounding vocals too. IMMINENT DOOM: song sounds like title, a bit cliched, heavy industrial beat with stuff flying about. Crazyhead music pounded deep into your brain... squalling and wailing; it's scary. THE ARRIVAL: slow melodic pretty strangeness. Sounds like xylophone? Now it's rockin like there's no tomorrow. Those intellectual white boys from the university can really get out of their heads. The press release says " the landscape of sound they inhabit features their inimitable blend of field recording loops, ethnic strings and winds, acoustic instruments, samples and electronics..." MIZMAR very snake charmy but cool, everything sounds good.... THIN AIR carnivalesque wacky, more tribal drumming, goes uptempo, vocal chants, a very pretty ethereal song, in a way sounds like if Steely Dan went world beat. The press release says "Enuma Elish have set the new standard in the union of electronica, jazz based improvisational squall, polyrythmic barrage, and pure sonic apocalypse." And I can't disagree with that.
For more information you can visit the Enuma Elish web site at: http://www.enumaelish.com.
Visit the Lithiq web site at: http://www.lithiq.com.
Email at: email@example.com.
Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher