(CD / Vinyl LP, Blunoise Records, 2012)
If that old 70’s jazz drumset mentioned by the musicians from Jealousy Mountain Duo on their Bandcamp page hasn’t taken a beating in its previous life, with its previous owners then if definitely took one with the drummer of this incredible free improv duo. The German micro-ensemble Jealousy Moutain Duo stormed the scene (and became Weed Temple’s favorites) back in 2011 with their highly energetic debut vinyl record, channeling the post-rock sensibilties through seemingly disjointed free jazz structures. Their newest release, titled simply “No_2” tries to one-up the previous album, by trying to sound even more energetic and spastic. And more melodic.
The opening “The Home of Easy Credit” unveils the intention of JMD very well: it is chaotic at first, but gradually exposes the scraps of pleasant, bucolic melody in a series of violent jerks punctuated by cymbal crashes and amphetaminic drum breaks, all submissive to the irregular, jagged rhythm filling almost every free space left. The guitar and the drums complement each other graeatly: while the strings remain largely ascetic in nature, rarely breaking into the spotlight, rather going for minimalistic strumming with mathematical precision, the drums keep growing in one explosion after another; never going mute or stale, always on the move, like a caged wild animal, seeking release from tension.
Tension is one of the main constructive forces behind the duo; the whole album is 95% keeping it, barely harnessing the power of instruments and 5% release. And when the release finally comes, it is THE RELEASE, in capital fucking letters, blowing up straight into the listener’s face (or in this case: ears), getting off the hook and losing all limits. This is when the post-rock deconstruction transforms itself into a noise rock monster. Like in the shortie-but-goodie “All Day Blizzard”, in which from a series of false starts and sudden jerks rises an atomic monster of a riff, only to be stopped seconds later and forced into free improv again. “All Day Blizzard” is a personal favorite of mine, showing what the duo can do once they leave the constraints of improvisation for a moment and go for a more traditional riff - the power of those few micro-riffs appear to parallel and challenge even those of Lightning Bolt or Hella, which shows the band’s incredible expertise in displaying power.
They are hiding their power well, but I hope one day they just won’t keep the tension any longer and will make a truly explosive album with those superpowers of theirs.