FAME Review: Tal Gur - Under Contractions
Tal Gur - Under Contractions

Under Contractions

Tal Gur

Available from Tal Gur's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Hoo-boy, did sax player Tal Gur ever make the right choice when he teamed up with guitarist Eyal Maoz! Under Contractions' first cut, ReGenesis, trots out a crooning lament/pensivity bit of stream of consciousness, captivating, but its follow-on, Time Tuning Day #2, is sheer marvelous chaos. The two cuts are short—the first 0:50, the second 1:59—but perfectly set the menu for what's to follow, and no sooner had the trey cut, How Can I Sleep, erupted than delight spread across my critic's cynical mug. That rapture, however, probably best defines what will be this disc's problem. I'll explain.

A friend's been visiting me while on vacation. We're hiking buddies but can't at the moment afford another trip to the Grand Canyon (damn this Second Republican Depression!!), so we're just hangin'. He wandered through the back room while I was listening to Under Contractions' Sleep and uttered a somewhat irritated "What on Earth is that?" as the song's abstract refrains hit his ear. I replied "Dude, shut the fuck up, I'm blissing out here!". Therein lies the dilemma.

My bud's not exactly what you'd call an arts connoissieur, therefore not terribly open to a lot of stuff, but I get knocked out of the tree with free jazz of this ilk. Back in the day, this brand of stratospheric creativity is what drove me into the arms of King Crimson's Earthbound, Centipede, the ECM label, various off-the-wall European releases, and a panoply of highly unorthodox artforms stepping well beyond tradition into a sonic Finnegan's Wake deconstructing reality down to its poetic/lunatic/wondering root. Gur and Maoz are exactly the same sort of futurist archaeologists as from those timelost years, but here unearthing treasure before it's even made by those to come.

Had John Klemmer had been listening to Lol Coxhill—which, by the way, I suspect he did: the magnificently erotic Barefoot Ballet wasn't his only LP, ya know—he'd be Tal Gur, but Tal and Eyal are joined by Sam Trapchuk's searching bass work (esp. in ReGenesis Day #3) and Nick Anderson's atmospheric drums, the latter kind of a cross between Jon Christensen and Marc Anderson. On their own, as solos, Gur and Maoz are intrepid, but together? Absolute dynamite. Not a second of the cliché anywhere, pure undiluted creativity and inspiration moment by moment, sometimes moon-eyed over trad but far more often headed for Jupiter…or the center of the Earth.

Keep the windows closed when you play this one or the neighbors will be knocking at your door with pitchforks and firebrands, home owners' association heads bursting like a remake of Scanners, but DO invite your equally spacey friends over 'cause this kind of art must be shared, a high you can have without drugs, the sort of sonics that create new crenellations in the brain, induce ecstasy without religion, and make you grin like a crazed monkey reading Darwin. No, I ain't kiddin', but I guess now I gotta stop my pal from burrowing into the back yard like a frightened mole. Maybe some Barry Manilow will do the trick.

Track List:

  • ReGenesis
  • Time Tuning Day #2
  • ReGenesis Day 3
  • Under Contractions
  • Waiting For A Birth
  • Missiles Up, Missiles Down
  • Time For Night
  • Time Tuning Afternoon #5
  • Time For Fight
  • ReGenesis Dawn #7
All songs by Tal Gur.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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