Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kill and Eat - Green Bushes

Kill and Eat
Green Bushes
(03.2009, Alright Now Records)
RIYL = The Weird Weeds, I Heart Lung, chillin’ experimental jazz

First things first: as you may have noticed, Kill and Eat’s Green Bushes has no album art. The disclaimer written on their website reads as follows: “We refuse to release album artwork, because we recognize that formats were made for music, not music for formats.
We want our music to be judged on its own merit, not by whether it comes with visual art or fancy/handmade packaging.” Makes me feel a little shallow, but I love packaging and album art. They probably made this decision just based on the numerous reviews I’ve logged that talk more about the album art than the music it re[presents. That's fair. And look, now I am spending even more time talking about how they don’t have any album art than I am critiquing their music “on its own merit.” Sorry guys. One last little jab: isn’t a band name such as “Kill and Eat” just as much of a marketing adornment as album art? Zing! Maybe that’s a stretch. I’m just playing the devil’s advocate anyway. The truth is, after I accepted the challenge of listening to Green Bushes sans album art I was pleasantly, no, more than pleasantly surprised. They have the thing tagged as “an 18-minute slab of indifferent drone jazz” which had me expecting something slightly laborious, even if it did turn out to be above average. Turns out that description had me way out in left field because Green Bushes is nothing if not beautifully accessible. Sure, it’s experimental, it’s jazzy, it has an air of free spirited indifference (still not seeing the drone connections), but there is nothing here that could sour you on those terms. Anyone with an elementary appreciation for music could pop this in and come away wholly satisfied. That is kind of the charm of this disc; while being accessible enough to satisfy even casual listeners, Green Bushes is complex enough to bowl over even the most hardened, and pretentious of musical fanatics. And yes, the title track is 18 minutes. Don’t worry, you won’t get bored. The piece opens up with the slow repetition of a lyrical phrase harkening the title, “Green bushes and concrete trees above me.” This is laid atop a gorgeous, fluttery piano melody that floats along swiftly, occasionally breaking into a blustery wind of key strokes strewn up and down the keyboard. The slow moving introductory passage transforms ever so casually as the vocals fall away and the piano takes over. Green Bushes is late night music for expensive drinks if I’ve ever heard it. I don’t drink, but I think that it's only appropriate that I try listening to Green Bushes at around midnight one weekend with a bottle of Martinelli’s to truly graps the wonderment embedded in this album. Anyway, back to the music: So the piano takes over and, ever so subtly, we are introduced to some light percussion and, before you know it, an absolutely divine trumpet solo that is so lazy and SO good. It's so good. Wow, just makes you sit still, reflect and love life. All of this coalesces into a final burst of piano energy that rides out the last three minutes of the experience. The title track is supplemented by a couple of “sketches.” The first is a 7+ minute track of bubbly jazz piano reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi (of Peanuts fame) with a wordless bop bop bop vocal accompaniment and then "Ellipses," which in just under four minutes reminds you of just how easily drums, piano and a trumpet can make you fall in love (as if you had forgotten their moments together in “Green Bushes.” Anywho, forgive my initial musing on the anti album art stance – this music truly stands on its own. It was released initially last summer in a very limited form but has been released (with good reason). And Kill & Eat is offering a free download of the tracks so that you can try it out before considering a proper purchase or donation. Really terrific.

Download Green Bushes here

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