Song debut: Sinister Resonance, “Fear Of Dust By The Handful”

The Madison avant-jazz explorers celebrate a new album on Monday at the High Noon.


Madison band Sinister Resonance‘s forthcoming album, They Said…, which they’ll celebrate with a show on Monday at the High Noon Saloon, experiments with many different facets of jazz, avant-garde music, and flat-out aggressive music. It starts with Nels Cline’s tender and stormy composition “There’s Something About David” and covers two songs by dub/punk hybridizers Dub Trio, and the band takes its name from a composition by avant-garde composer and noted piano torturer Henry Cowell. It’s an album that frequently asks the listener to readjust from one track to the next, for instance as the band transitions from its namesake composition (featuring pianist Vincent Fuh performing all manner of manipulations with the guts of his instrument) to the two Dub Trio covers, “Agonist” and “Not For Nothing,” in which trombone player and UW-Madison professor Mark Hetzler channels Dub Trio’s swampy dub and slashing punk riffs through an array of distortion, flanger, and reverb effects.

But the nearly 11-minute Hetzler original, “Fear Of Dust By The Handful,” reaches past the band’s avant-garde inspirations and evokes the restless, stately spirit of Charles Mingus. This piece allows Hetzler, Fuh, bassist Nick Moran, and drummer Todd Hammes to meander through conversational, improvised passages, gradually and warmly working their way into cohesion. Hetzler’s trombone here frames the melody in bold strokes, giving the rest of the band plenty of room to flesh things out, perhaps most impressively in Fuh’s fluid and graceful, but also ever so slightly tense, piano solo a little past the halfway point. While it’s certainly fun to follow the band through the many bold choices it makes in materials, textures, and techniques on this album, this track relies mostly on the equally important ability to mesh and trade ideas as an ensemble. Stream the song below.

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