Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

by Jair Rohm Parker Wells

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TEXTURA REVIEW

Amazingly, Jair-Rôhm Parker Wells’ electro-acoustic experimental collection, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, is as arresting. Recorded at his Stockholm studio (the American bassist moved to Sweden in 1985), the hour-long recording finds the composer merging the recognizable sounds of bass improvisations (produced by a Fichter electric upright bass and Hohner HAB-1 acoustic bass guitar) with heavily-processed electronic manipulations that are considerably more abstract. “A.L.M.” opens the album explosively with shakers-like percussion sounds and sputtering electronics which bleed and belch over the rhythm base. The comparatively more conventional “In Theory There is No Difference Between Theory and Practice, In Practice There Is” is a breezy setting of laid-back jazz swing where the electric bass floats over a dense synthetic haze; ‘fusion’ in the best sense of the word, the piece could be heard as a tribute to Weather Report circa Mysterious Traveler, with the fretless bass sound reminiscent of Pastorius and the synth solo of Zawinul. The piece shifts gears halfway through when the rhythm drops out, paving the way for a more explorative space where the bass solos amidst blurry electronic loops, whooshes, and assorted other noises. The processed guitars of Robert Musso and James Plotkin build a lulling drone behind Parker Wells’ lead on “The Annexing of Jane.” The album occasionally gravitates toward relatively placid territory during the languorous “Sententia Africanus (for Karl-Heinz Stockhausen)” and “Lethal Beauty,” and also includes two beautiful meditations for solo bass (“Libido Management,” “Dangerous Curves and a Head”) where Parker Wells’ technical command is showcased marvelously. The album transcends straightforward definition so handily that calling Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam a ‘solo bass’ project is ridiculously inadequate—especially when the genre-defying collection includes pieces like a twelve-minute black hole of writhing electronic wooziness (“To Morning Sea Explore”). (2007 textura.org)


INTRO REVIEW


Klanggold (kg002)Jair-Rohm Parker Wells ist Bassist und verfremdet seine Instrumente über das Maß. Dazu kommen elektro-akustische Sounds, die zum Teil in die Weltmusik gehen. Insgesamt die schwächere der beiden Veröffentlichungen, die bisher auf Klanggold erschienen sind. Nur teilweise wirkt es zwingend, was Parker Wells macht; der Opener ‘A.L.M.’ beispielsweise verliert sich in weltgewandter Beliebigkeit, dafür entschädigen immer wieder die improvisierten Stücke, die mit angenehmer Leichtigkeit einen mit sich selbst jammenden Musiker zeigen. Wenn man also gerne akustische Fernreisen und improvisierte Musik miteinander verknüpft, ist man hier richtig. (Intro 2006, Heimspiel)

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released March 7, 2008

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