Voltress – Antelopes
(Shortwave Records 2007, SW 001)
From Aural Innovations #36 (May 2007)
Voltress are the duo of Courtney Collins and Eric Hartz. On their previous effort, 2004’s Victim of Vultures, the pair delved into “70’s-inspired synth rock/trip hop”. But for their latest effort, the half-hour long, 2 track EP Antelopes, Voltress have taken a complete left turn into undiscovered territory. They’ve recruited avant-garde jazz saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell (of the Art Ensemble of Chicago), legendary bassist Richard Davis, keyboardist Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic fame, and other guests to create an intense and electrifying concoction of funk and free jazz set to driving rock rhythms. Inspired by Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew period, but with a distinctly modern twist (for example, they use (often amusing) samples of telephone answering machine messages throughout to add a kind of experimental sound collage element to the proceedings), the band romps through two lengthy cuts, Guts and the Gazelle and Thirsty Zebras and the Wildebeest. Energetic rhythms that comprise simple, motorik-style drumming with complex bass lines propel the music along as deliciously warm and funky organ collides with uncanny space synths, and various horns explore the structure in more free form style, dancing around the rhythms with creative abandon. There are some breaks, as the music lapses into moody sections that are almost ambient in nature or passages where the music looses all form and structure entirely, but then the driving beats return and the jam resumes with full force. Dynamic stuff! Fans of artists like Miles Davis and Weather Report, as well as fans of modern experimental jazz groups like Mushroom will no doubt love this stuff. Antelopes is only available on vinyl or as a digital download, but either way, you’ll get a solid half hour of innovative, exhilarating music. Highly recommended!
For more info, visit: http://www.voltress.com
Or check out their myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/voltress
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald