March 28, 2009

Medeski Martin & Wood: Radiolarians II

Medeski Martin & Wood keep up their high standard of improvised jazz rock. Radiolarians II, the second installment of their trilogy, exposed the basics of the members interacting with each other. Drummer Billy Martin earns the title of MVP on this album, keeping it together and directing keyboards John Medeski and bassist Chris Wood to unknown territories. Kicking of with two car inspired tracks - Flat Tires and Junkyard - they go south of the border for Padireto before arriving on the first truly "out there" track ijiji, a percussive piece, wavering piano and loaded with sound effects straight out of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

After this they aim for the mainstream jazz crowd with Riffin' Ed (a bit of throwaway really), and Amber Gris, a piece that would fit like a glove on a French nouvelle vague movie. Having lured the casual listener it's back to business with runaway freight train Chasen vs Suribachi and the minimal Dollar Pants (with, yet again a few Auntie Beeb sound effects). To top it off Medeski slips into Hammond mode for Amish Pinxtos before the band kisses you good night with the borderline lounge act costume they put on for Baby, Let Me Follow You Down. You might expect Page McConnell - wearing a brand new shirt - to show up to add some vocals to that one.

Radiolarians II doesn't take as many chances as part I, but MMW still are more adventurous on a single disc than most bands are through their entire career.

Medeski Martin & Wood: Radiolarians II

Radiolarians II is available from the MMW web shop. Release date: April 14th.

  1. Flat Tires
  2. Junkyard
  3. Padirecto
  4. ijiji
  5. Riffin' Ed
  6. Amber Girls
  7. Chasen vs Suribachi
  8. Dollar Pants
  9. Amish Pinxtos
  10. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down


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