Monday, February 1, 2010

New CD Review: Simplexity – Extreme Measures

Simplexity Extreme Measures

Track Listing:
  • Astral Travel 5:17
  • The Organization Of Chao 9:59
  • Gone To Croatoan 3:25
  • Disco Extract 5:36
  • Planet Mongo 5:51
  • Stendec Transmissions 7:22
  • Twilight 8:00
  • Underwater 5:44


Simplexity refers to itself as “hyper-dimensional electronic jazz”, so you know you are in for something new. The band is the brainchild of producer, noted computer musician and bassist John von Seggern and he assembled quite a band indeed. The project includes some of the top musicians in Los Angeles like drummer Gary Novak, pianist John Beasley, saxophonist Steve Tavaglione, trumpeter Walt Fowler, and EVI player Judd Miller. It even utilizes some recordings of the recently departed Dave Carpenter’s bass playing!

Extreme Measures was recorded over a couple days of jam sessions and overdubs at drummer Gary Novak's Kronos Recording studio in Burbank. Sax, drums, keyboards, and bass were mixed and combined with computer beats and grooves in live session, then later edited and remixed into compositions by John von.

The danger with a recording like this is that when you put an ensemble together of this caliber, the expectations are set quite high for the listener and thankfully, it is pulled off spectacularly by all involved. The interplay of the musicians as well as the electronic devices is first rate, sometimes hard to know where the player and the computer end. I think that listeners of David Torns Prezens or Squarepusher would probably find themselves getting into this.

Standout tracks for me include: Stendec Transmissions, The Organization of Chaos, and Astral Travel although all tracks are very good and listenable, no throwaways. The best part of this recording to me is that it never crosses the line into “hot tub” jazz or cheesy fusion clich├ęs. There is a nice, focused, hybrid of Jazz/Fusion and electronica with a great diversity of feels, styles, and imagination without being all over the place. John von and Tavaglione’s production is first rate and of the highest quality with the CD’s sound world being extremely cohesive.

Extreme Measures will be released digitally worldwide in all the major online services including iTunes, Amazon.com, and Rhapsody and on CD at Amazon.com and local outlets in Los Angeles on February 2, 2010, through the Vibration Institute Music label.

Go to: Vibration Institute Music for more information. Follow John von on Twitter