Songwriting and sound design always take center stage with ro sham beaux. Each part of each song on this self-titled album, from the distortion on the saxophone to the length of phrases on 'Dreamulator,' is carefully constructed from the rubble of reductionist compositions. The song structure is a canvas onto which the instruments project art for your ears. (Now, if we can sift through the painfully self-aware pretentions of the previous sentences, we might reluctantly find these statement to be more than a little bit true.)
Perhaps this is not so obvious: the theme of this album is Creation. Everything comes from something, and the four songwriters in ro sham beaux can't help but render everything through the lens of progress and discovery. The performances are personal and primal. The raw quality on the recordings is a result of the proximity of the instruments to their microphones. This simple and deliberate concept gives the songs a shape of their own, each section receiving particular attention to detail and dynamics.
Despite the harmony and excitement one experiences from just the very first listen, there is in fact conflict on this album. Every song itches and scratches, pushes and pulls against itself like a boat on choppy water, particularly 'keut str8 boiz' and 'Anthem.' Some songs grind to a complete standstill, just to be tossed back into a previous theme. The rules for song forms are nonexistent, and it shows. Beyond that, there is the sense that these musicians truly trust each other. They reach out to each other and seemingly to the listener, sending one's imagination to the heights of mountaintops and to the human-ness of consciousness.
Here are some links to a few glowing reviews of this recording:
All About Jazz (Dave Wayne)
released 13 March 2012
Zac Shaiman - Saxophones & Glockenspiel
Oliver Watkinson - Bass & Toy Piano
Luke Marantz - Nord Electro
Jacob Cole - Drums & Glockenspiel
Recorded at Q Division Studios (Somerville, MA)
Engineered and mixed by Joe Tooley
Produced by Ro Sham Beaux
Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.