HEY! Get updates to this and the CD and 7" blogs via Twitter: @VinylUnderbite

5 April 2010

The David Boykin Outet - 'Evidence of Life on Other Planets vol. 1' (Thrill Jockey)

This quintet is actually an outet, and if you are wondering why it's because Boykin is gonna take you to the outer reaches of the stratosphere, man. To prove it, he's thrown on a pair of Zubaz and he's playing his saxophone on a rock, to remind you all of how spiritual and connected-to-nature a jazz saxophonist can be. If he's trying to buy into the whole myth who can blame him? He's in Chicago and there's a hell of a scene there to grow up in. The picture makes him look pretty young and you'd think there wasn't a band since none of them are pictured, but this is very much a group deal. Boykin takes the center a few times for some tenor soloing but lots of the tunage is shared, particularly with the flautist, Nicole Mitchell. There's no point where this thing erupts - it's more concerned with constructing an atmosphere, one of spacey flowing melodic interplay. The tones hover around like a spaceship, with the drummer relegated to atmospheric percussion for most of side 1. 'Astro Lilly' does remind me of something off late 50's Sun Ra, only maybe better recorded. It's gotta be an influence, I guess, with the space imagery, and John Gilmore worship -- but I can't help but feel this is more of a chill out, down in the dirt, salt of the earth kinda record instead. Each track ends with such lackluster applause I'm amazed they kept it on the record -- it's like most of the audience was out in the lobby or something. I jest; there's no reason to rag on the David Boykin Outet, for their only sin is really being too rooted in the post-skronk anti-tradition, and that's no crime if you ask me. There's a lot of nuanced playing and the final track, 'Hypnotic', may not quite live up to its name but it's at least catchy, painting images of smoky air, wooden floors and brown trousers. There's a lot of vocalising but it's recorded sorta weirdly, so it's easy to tune out, though I like it. It's been twelve years since this was recorded and I haven't heard anything about Mr. Boykin so who knows where he is now. It's kinda weird this is on Thrill Jockey - almost like they owed someone a favour or something? I mean, the design/layout of the sleeve is practically shocking compared to the aesthetic they usually push and you think they were putting out Jim Shepard records around the same time as this ... what a funny world we live in. I remember this guy came to town once but it was a solo sax show so I skipped it.

No comments:

Post a Comment