The Astronaut Body Four / Murder City
Vinyl LP available exclusively at Aquarius Records
CD and MP3 -- February 2015
“It takes a lot for a new jazz album to win us over, but these two long jams by San Francisco's Astronaut Body Four are really hitting the spot, some seriously forward thinking, left-field jazz for sure. The A side is the 18 minute track "Citizens’ Day Parade" which starts off like some lost vintage early '70s psych-jazz complete with awesome mystical sounding flute, and as it progresses a really odd but wonderful keyboard that sounds as if its being channeled from another planet, enters the fold and along with the sax, bass and drums the track takes all kinds of twists and turns, including some serious skronk, which instead of being annoying actually serve as great moments of tension building and release. The B side is another long one, the 20 minute track "Murder City Planetarium" which starts with a very moody and voyeuristic vibe, reminding us of moments from one of our very favorite films of all time, The Conversation. As the track continues on it maintains that subtle sense of suspense, leading up to a charged, chaotic freak out, and then ending on a note of deranged elegance. Awesome.” – Aquarius Records
Recorded in the drummer’s bedroom overlooking Fulton Street in San Francisco, Murder City is unlike any other jazz album you’ve ever heard. The Astronaut Body Four, led by the former Reagan’s Polyp keyboardist, flies hard and low over the avant-jazz territory staked out by groups like the Art Ensemble Of Chicago and the Sun Ra Arkestra(s), kicking up a lot of dust and debris in its wake. Includes the unique rhythm section of Les Raww (bass) and S. Dodds (drums), both from The Pine Box Boys, and features the silky bop saxophone and flute of David Rhoades of The Haight-Ashbury Free Band.
Side A: Citizens’ Day Parade
Side B: Murder City Planetarium
"Recorded in the drummer’s bedroom, it’s only inevitable that a wayward elbow would clatter into a wardrobe, or that the limbs of both body and saxophone would joust and jostle unintentionally. That’s what I imagine at least, as side one’s smooth, cyclical swing awkwardly negotiates the small amount of space – musical formality is retained in a brittle balance, quivering like a cocked buckaroo, awaiting just one misjudged sway to knockMurder City into a rubble of loose circuitry and percussive annihilation. There are times where the oblivious bleep of synthesiser is the only thing stopping the silence from sticking, and there are others where the minimal space compacts the atmospheric tension into bullets of brayed dissonance.
"All etiquette is abandoned for side two, which presses the steep gradients into sheer drops and hard spikes: keyboards spiral into dislodged rants, cymbals and snares tick like a wagon tumbling downward, voids open up and suck the momentum into pitch black, albeit for a broken saxophone solo under crooked spotlight. The room is expertly reshaped and repainted between the four of them; jazz backdrops collapse and mid-tempo rock emerges with the seamless professionalism of a theatre scene change, and even as The Astronaut Body Four seem to tip right off the edge into numerous blackouts of rationality and decorum, I see them clambering back up again each time. All this within a drummer’s bedroom." -- ATTN: MAGAZINE http://www.attnmagazine.co.uk/music/8102