Vitamin F

Vitamin F

by Fontanelle
     
 

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Portland, Oregon collective Fontanelle were born from the ashes of space-droning indie band Jessamine, but even their earliest records hinted at a funkiness and sense of groove usually absent in delay-addicted experimental bands. Vitamin F is the first music to be released with the Fontanelle brand since

Overview

Portland, Oregon collective Fontanelle were born from the ashes of space-droning indie band Jessamine, but even their earliest records hinted at a funkiness and sense of groove usually absent in delay-addicted experimental bands. Vitamin F is the first music to be released with the Fontanelle brand since Style Drift landed a good decade before it, and the album takes the electric funk influence that existed as an undercurrent on previous albums aggressively into the foreground. From the first seconds of opening track "Watermelon Hands," the band sounds so deeply couched in the glow of soupy fusion jazz like Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis that the sound at times borders on being an exercise in re-creating a certain era. When the band played around with different funky (and decidedly non-indie) elements on previous albums, it was slight -- the occasional dubby rhythmic clattering or a bassline that called to mind Herbie Hancock jamming with Can. Vitamin F, however, dives in head first to greasy funk, with a cast of added horn players taking the album's spacious and sometimes fried rhythms into straight-up jazz territory. Rhythmic skeletons of electric pianos and repetitive bass figures are decorated with heavily processed brass and sizzling guitar leads, all with a production lens that replicates the smoky, late-night vibe of early-'70s fusion records so well that the album could sit unnoticed beside Head Hunters or On the Corner. What keeps the album from becoming an irritating copycat is the thoughtful performances by seasoned players and also the implementation of subtle analog electronics throughout the jammy landscapes. For this date, Fontanelle feature not just founding members Rex Ritter, Brian Foote, Paul Dickow, Mat Morgan, and Andy Brown, but also a cast of friends and bandmates from Sunn 0))), Wolves in the Throne Room, Jackie-O MF, and more. The high percentage of metal and noise dudes helping out on a decidedly non-metal album (released on metal-mongering label Southern Lord, no less) still adds a feeling of refracted doom to the seven tunes. "When the Fire Hits the Forest" owes more musically to the Zappa-meets-Miles sound of its blistering fuzz trumpet leads and booming drums, but there's still an underlying sense that the title could very well apply to Norwegian black metal kids burning down churches. "Ataxia" bubbles with crunchy synth interjections designed for headphone listening. The early-morning feel of album closer "Reassimilated" wraps up the set with a more open-ended vibe, horns hanging on a blurry group melody and staggered percussion. There's still a darkness lingering there, but it suits the album. Vitamin F is so inarguably steeped in jazz influences that it could put off fans of the band's earlier work, but whether it comes off as a grimy post-metal fusion masterpiece or an uncannily produced period piece ultimately doesn't matter. The songs are sophisticated and complex journeys in group playing that stand on their own outside of even the weighty influence that may have inspired them.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/23/2012
Label:
Southern Lord
UPC:
0808720014822
catalogNumber:
148
Rank:
199251

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Fontanelle   Primary Artist
Hans Teuber   Bass Clarinet,Alto Flute,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Andy Brown   Bass,Clavinet,Arp 2600
Gentry Densley   Guitar,Soloist
Skerik   Soprano Saxophone
Rex Ritter   Bass,Guitar
Paul Dickow   Vibes,farfisa organ,fender rhodes
Mat Morgan   Drums
Brian Foote   Wurlitzer
Borg Norum   Percussion,Gong
Jef Brown   Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Dave Carter   Trumpet
Steve Moore   Trombone

Technical Credits

Randall Dunn   Producer,Engineer,Loop
David Nakamoto   Artwork

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