On the surface level of the genre – that being what most people know, jazz is made up of the names Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Charles Mingus. To jazz heads – those who take the genre seriously, jazz is much larger with names like Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderly, and Freddie Hubbard. But, for those who adore the subgenre of free jazz, the “correct” names become muddied and like any form of expressionism, there’s a freedom to who is the best or the name worth knowing. Austin’s The Young Mothers are a name that anyone familiar with the above should know, and anyone ready to take on the world of free jazz, should learn about. On their latest release Morose, the group lead by world renowned bassist Ingebrigt Haken Flaten places their own stamp on what jazz is, while giving nods to everyone listed above.
Opening with the hip hop infused drive of “Attica Black,” the notes might make you think that this is traditional jazz, that is, until the lyrics drop. Where hip hop has utilized jazz as a backdrop in the past, this is much more than that and offers up a funk so thick you can’t shake its scent for days. “Black Tar Caviar” has all players on the release firing on all cylinders, starting free only to morph into a programmed world of dark electronica and snarling bass lines.
The album’s tracks throw you for a loop at times, where snarling growls pierce the instrumentation, or punk time signatures hop on and off as quickly as they appear. There’s elements of black metal at times that’s extraordinary, mind-blowing, and full of a weight you won’t be expecting. “Jazz Oppression” mixes so much of these genres together in a fight of free form jazz and pretty much everything else. At times it sounds like multiple bands performing different tracks without ever losing the scope of where the song began.
There’s a grime rap sound to title track “Morose,” there’s a drone element to “Untitled #2” before it becomes instruments going crazy, and then there’s the final track, “Shanghai.” The song, sounds so different from everything that came prior, that you’ll think you’re listening to a different album altogether. There’s so much happening on each song here, that the band can’t be held to one genre, as if they don’t care if you’re ready for what they’re doing, because they’re doing it anyway.
You can stream Morose on all streaming platforms, you can purchase it directly from Bandcamp, or directly from Self Sabotage Records. The insanity that is a live performance from The Young Mothers will hit Texas this week for five very special performances. The dates are Tuesday September 18 in Austin at Beerland, September 19 at Dada Dallas, September 20 at Lola’s Saloon in Fort Worth, and in Houston at Rockefeller’s on September 21.
Image Credits: Photo By Ziga Zoritnik.