By J. Hunter
seems to suit Bill Frisell.... Although Floratone is more of a studio
creation than I might like‚ the
end result is just too much fun to dismiss on technicalities.
Floratone came out of a 2005 jam session between
Frisell and expolsive, ever-versatile drummer Matt Chamberlain.
Frisell responds to Chamberlain's over-stimulus with a nasty‚ unfiltered buzz saw sound that
kicks you in the ass and says‚ "That…was an attention-getter!"
After the session‚ Tucker Martine and Lee Townsend‚ got
out the digital chisel and sculpted the raw tracks into an 11-song
set that suggests a Frankenstein-like melding of Wes Montgomery‚ Robert
Johnson and the White Stripes. The producers brought in bassist Viktor
Krauss - another cohort of Frisell's-to anchor the tunes‚ while
texture and scope were added with carefully placed contributions
from cornetist Ron Miles and violist Eyvind Kang.
A lot of Floratone is atmospheric‚ but
there's lightning in the atmosphere.
Your attention stays riveted through "The Wanderer‚" which
is a good walk spoiled by encroaching memory. "Mississippi Rising" lays
down a chugging swamp groove that rolls over you like a runaway freight
train. The funk-jazz "Swamped" and the looped-out "Louisiana
Lowboat" take long‚ sweet trips on that same train. Even
when things get meditative-on the loping "The Passenger" and
the hypnotic "Take a Look"-the aggressive tone never really
Martine and Townsend share equal billing with
Frisell and Chamberlain on the album's cover‚ showing that this matrix is bigger than
the usual artist/producer relationship. Of all Frisell's collaborations‚ Floratone
may be his most productive. And a productive Bill Frisell is a very