tate/allison is JR Tate and Billy Allison, a couple of guys who met in music school in the San Gabriel Valley, just outside of Los Angeles. The duo have backgrounds in big band, jazz, and rock, but also an affinity for noise, and they brought all those disparate pieces together on their new release Jazz Machines.
Jazz Machines opens with the 23+ minute “Rain”. The first third of the track creates an overall ambient soundscape with a distinctly non-electronic, instrumental warmth about it. The horn takes a more prominent place as we progress, the composition splintering into different subelements as the intensity attacks and relents. There are elements of free jazz at play, but much of the vibe remains minimalist and some passages feel quite intentional and not so improvisational, the overall subtlety making the noisier portions that much more jarring. “Washer/Dryer” hits the listener with more discordant sounds early on, taking a more aggressive stance. I sense a broader range of instrumentation here as well, including some electric guitar feedback that would have made Hendrix proud. The track is more reminiscent of experimental rock than free jazz, in part due to the more prominent place of the guitar and other obviously electronic elements. At 36 minutes it’s a marathon, but one that never gets old or tired. “Train” opens in a much gloomier place, like a dark night in a run-down harbor district, damp, cold, and dangerous. It retains that somberness throughout, a film-noir-esque soundtrack (and at 28 minutes, it could indeed score an entire film) to those places that are best avoided. Compared to the other tunes, “detergent” is almost punk rock at just over five minutes in length, a song that retains its ambient core throughout and serves as a relaxing outdo to the overall Jazz Machines experience.
Jazz Machines is available on limited edition cassette and digital download via the art throughsound Bandcamp page HERE.