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Free Pulse

Free Pulse

On Free Pulse, ex members of the band Starfuckers play self-described "nonmetric music" created from live instrumentation and then digitally processed in a way that pretty much wipes out all logical structure and progression (hence, the name they give their music). In taking elements of jazz and rock and prog music, the group strips the individual sounds off all their connotations and has created an off-kilter wriggle of songs that sounds like three different musicians going in their own directions most of the time and only coming together for some very basic semblance of order.

At a very basic level, this is the furthest logical extension of free-form music. Nobody has a solo and even more extreme the instrumentation never really even lines up with each other all that much. If you've heard the Don Caballero side project Storm & Stress, it's somewhere close to this, but even that group had a serious command of dynamics and tension that Sinistri seems to lack.

Musically, some interesting things are going on within the release, but having listened to it several times over can't quite figure out why Free Pulse needs to run for ten tracks and nearly an hour in length. The basic structure of the tracks is a fairly standard trio of somewhat ragged, bluesy-sounding guitar, bass, and drums. The guitar play is sparse and mainly comes forth in one or two note (or chord) bursts while the bass playing falls in behind it in nearly the same scattershod way. Percussive hits provide a broken-backbone structure for the tracks, and usually there's some sort of low or high-end (or both) electronics going on over it all. In short, the sonic elements of each track are nearly identical, and only the haphazard arrangement and unveiling (and track title, I suppose) are what changes.

There are a few places where the group changes the pacing slightly or adds some other elements to the mix, and it's in these places where the release actually gains some footing. "NY Vamp (Second Set)" filters some disembodied vocals through a lo-pass filter for some weird alien chatter while the guitar and rhythmic attack and recede, providing some excellent tension. The same goes for "Ampstone," which filters out the guitar part so severely that it sounds like only tiny fractions of notes are escaping as the rest of the track swirls around a dark vortex. In many other places, though, the album just gets tedious unless you have a serious ear for this sort of unmeasured free-whatever.

Rating: 5