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Great Architect CL Recommends

When: Wed., April 23 and Wed., April 30 2014

Free-jazz giants like Coltrane, Mingus and Miles spring to mind when assessing the tonal shifts and fractured melodies that are shuffled and recombined by Great Architect. In truth, the experimental Charlotte sextet traces a deliciously thorny path back to the anti-commercial prog of Henry Cow, the No Wave swinging skronk of James Chance and the theatrical avant-noise of Etron Fou Leloublan. At heart, though, the all-instrumental Great Architect is a playful rock combo. True, “playful” here includes scraping violin, grainy and elliptical saxophone, melodic drones and spidery guitar stitching through polyrhythmic compositions. There’s a giddy improvisational sense of danger here, but founder/reed-man Brent Bagwell insists that Great Architect’s challenging constructions are carefully planned. When this outfit plays it relatively straight, as it did in 2010 for its live accompaniment of the 1922 animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed at the Neighborhood Theatre, the result is a relatively conventional, exotica-tinged score with corny onomatopoeic highlights and squalls of zany noise terrorism. Other times, Great Architect go gloriously off the chart, prying open the top of your skull and blowing the cobwebs off your brain. (Michael Walsh)


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