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Underflow, The

Instant Opaque Evening

Blue Chopsticks
2XLP $30.50

01/29/2021 781484703419 

BC 34 


Instant Opaque Evening is an epic offering from The Underflow, the new trio of Mats Gustafsson, David Grubbs, and Rob Mazurek. It makes vast strides on the heels of their self-titled 2019 debut (Corbett vs. Dempsey / Underflow Records) with nearly 90 minutes of intensely focused live performances from January 2020 shows in France, Belgium, Italy, and Poland. That tour was a revelation for all three members, experienced as they are, with this still-new group’s freedom to walk onstage each night determined to surprise one another, moving from long instrumental improvisations into and out of songs, and covering a terrific amount of ground at each of these concerts. Instant Opaque Evening conveys this broad sweep, from the full-tilt electronics of “Self-Portrait as Interference Pattern” and the climax of the 17-minute “Instant Opaque Evening” to the inspired, alternate universe chamber music of “Planks” and “A Thin Eternity” and the group’s spontaneous arrangements of three previously recorded songs by Grubbs, “Gethsemani Night,” “An Optimist Declines,” and “Cooler Side of the Pillow.” The short version of the long tale of intersecting paths bringing together these three musicians begins in Chicago in the 1990s, with all three active participants in numerous convergences among jazz, free improvisation, experimental rock, and more. Both Gustafsson and Mazurek appear as guests on Gastr del Sol albums (Upgrade & Afterlife and Camoufleur respectively; that’s Rob’s cornet taking “The Seasons Reverse” to new heights), and shortly thereafter Grubbs and Gustafsson recorded two duo albums, including the deep minimalism of Apertura, a talismanic favorite of both musicians.

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