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Making Love to the Dark Ages

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All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
Bandleader Greg Tate uses a technique called "conduction" to lead Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, and to read about this technique is to experience a dark sense of foreboding. Apparently conduction involves the use of "gestures, baton twirls, eye contact, and facial expressions" to signal to the band how it should manipulate the various elements of the music at any given moment. It may sound like a fun idea for the musicians, but like many things that musicians find fun, it sounds like a potential disaster for listeners. A glance at the track list on this album only deepens the sense of gloom: it opens with a three-part suite total time: 25 minutes and closes with a ...
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03/17/2009 CD New

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
Bandleader Greg Tate uses a technique called "conduction" to lead Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, and to read about this technique is to experience a dark sense of foreboding. Apparently conduction involves the use of "gestures, baton twirls, eye contact, and facial expressions" to signal to the band how it should manipulate the various elements of the music at any given moment. It may sound like a fun idea for the musicians, but like many things that musicians find fun, it sounds like a potential disaster for listeners. A glance at the track list on this album only deepens the sense of gloom: it opens with a three-part suite total time: 25 minutes and closes with a two-part suite total time: 18 minutes and in between features a tune called "Thorazine/81" that purports to be partially written by Miles Davis. So after all the dread, how does the album sound? It's a very mixed bag. The first section of the "Chains and Water" suite is a jazzy song that draws deeply and quite beautifully on the African-American spiritual tradition, but then the second section is a free-ish, one-chord instrumental snoozefest that drags on for over 13 minutes. "Thorazine/81" is self-indulgent and boring, but "Love to Tical" is a swinging funk workout that features some very attractive female vocalese, a fine soprano sax solo, and some startlingly athletic guitar. The album's finest moments, interestingly, are also its quietest and most subdued: the nearly 16-minute "Dominata" is contemplative and texturally gorgeous, while the almost equally long title track is dark and brooding, with a violin part that gradually becomes thick with electronic textures and a laptop computer part that scatters glitches throughout the atmosphere -- then the horn section comes in. Mixed bag or not, Making Love to the Dark Ages is at least interesting, and interesting albums are not to be sniffed at these days.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/17/2009
  • Label: Livewired Music
  • UPC: 884501084208
  • Catalog Number: 1002

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber Primary Artist
Burnt Sugar Indexed Contributor
Mikel Banks Harmonica
Lewis Barnes Trumpet
Bruce Mack Synthesizer
Jared Michael Nickerson Electric Bass
Vernon Reid Guitar
V. Jeffrey Smith Tenor Saxophone
Vijay Iyer Piano
Latasha Natasha Diggs Vocals
Micah Gaugh Alto Saxophone
Trevor Holder Drums
Paula Henderson Baritone Saxophone
Avram K. Fefer Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Jason DiMatteo Acoustic Bass
Rene Akan Guitar
Matana Roberts Alto Saxophone
Shahzad Ismaily Bass
Lisala Vocals
Jeremiah Vocals
David Smith Trombone
Will Martina Cello
Petre Radu Scafaru Tenor Saxophone
Satch Hoyt Flute, Percussion
Mikel Banks Harmonica
W. Myles Reilly Piano
Harald Kisiedu Tenor Saxophone
Gregory S. Tate Guitar
Ben Tyree Guitar
Andre Lassalle Guitar
Justice X. Piano, Vocals
Michael Veal Electric Bass, Sax (Sopranino)
Mazz Swift Violin
Technical Credits
Ron Carter Composer
Miles Davis Composer
Jared Michael Nickerson Executive Producer
Ron Croudy Cover Art
Greg Tate Composer
Peter Karl Engineer, Mastering
Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber Composer
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