Personnel: Ben Wendel (melodica, tenor saxophone); Shane Endsley (trumpet); Adam Benjamin (Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards); Kaveh Rastegar (electric bass); Nate Wood (drums).
Audio Mixer: Alfred Darlington.
Recording information: Sunset Soud, Hollywood, CA (03/13/2012/03/14/2012).
If their 2013 effort The Line marked the first time the group worked with a producer, then the genre-bending funk-jazz ensemble known as Kneebody certainly must have enjoyed the experience. This 2015 release is produced by L.A.'s leading "studio as avant instrument" producer Daedelus, and as the title indicates, these two forces come together as one on Kneedelus, with the noisy, busy opener "Loops" a stunning example of organic and electronic mashing into something new. Contributions from Kneebody's individual musicians (keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, bassist/guitarist Kaveh Rastegar, saxophonist Ben Wendel, and drummer Nate Wood) can be identified in most spots, but grooves and loops trump solos with no muso showing-off to be found here. Song structures and purposeful jamming, however, are in abundance as "The Hole" grows into a giant song full of alien mating calls and rotating bass. Tradition plays a part as "Drum Battle" is a classic jazz vision of the hustle and bustle of any given downtown. "Thought Not" is like a record from the cool era was left on top of a goth's laptop as it melts from Gerry Mulligan into the land of Blurt and a more dour shade of Tortoise. Speaking of, fans of Tortoise, Miles Davis' Big Fun era, the Laswell remixes of Davis, and Konkurrent's In the Fishtank series of releases will find Kneedelus a jazz-meets-avant-pop treat, along with fans of the two parties involved. This is an intriguing record -- before listening, during, and after -- but it is also a record to get lost in, like the way a spin of Bitches Brew either lends itself to talking about the gifted artists or just provokes some freaked-out space dancing. ~ David Jeffries
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