Bablicon - "In A Different City"
(Misra 1999, MSR 001)
From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)
Bablicon is a Chicago trio that plays freeform jazz, classical, RIO, psych, way out there instrumental mayhem. The band includes The Diminisher on soprano sax, clarinet, fender rhodes, theremin, and voice, Marta Tennae on drums, fuzz banjo, Conn organ, Casio, Fender Rhodes, tape splices/edits, and voice, and Blue Hawaii on bass, guitar, veeena, cello, Casio, Conn organ, tape splices/edits, and vox. They are also joined by guests on vibrophone and violin. This is their first album and it was recorded in an abandoned machine shop.
The music covers some varied territory from freeform jazz freakouts to highly aggressive jams not unlike Dr Nerve. But the band has its quieter moments as well. One tune began with an intense chamber music intro and then moved into a slow lounge jazzy workout. Nothing traditional about this though. The pace may be easy but the horns are still blaring and the drums pounding away madly. I think the Rhodes is a wonderful sounding instrument and really adds to the feel of the music. The band has a playful side also as another track kicks off a bouncy Casio beat that is accompanied by banjo, bass, horns, and the occassional efx'd voice and carnival tunes. True beauty can be found in dissonance and Bablicon's idea of melody will please those whose ears thirst for the offbeat. I mentioned a chamber music intro earlier and Bablicon explores more classically influenced interests with a piece that sounds like Kronos Quartet doing their John Zorn cartoon soundtracks. In fact, the CD liner states that Bablicon is interested in doing film soundtracks.
In summary, Bablicon would appeal to fans of freeform music with both jazz and classical influences. RIO type bands like Art Bears, Aksak Maboul, Thinking Plague, Dr Nerve, and a host of others came to mind as I listened to the music. Though the psych influences are minimal it's worth noting that Bablicon was scheduled to perform at this year's Terrastock Festival.
Contact Bablicon c/o Misra; PO Box 20297; Tompkins Square Station; New York, NY.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz