Our epoch is typified by suspicion towards highbrow pretence, coupled with indiscriminate lapping up of pop culture, a Vice Magazine sort of attitude that is in turn countered by cyclical prog revivals and an authentic desire to escape irony and rediscover true knowledge.
The fact that a supergroup-for-those-in-the-know (Trevor Dunn of Mr Bungle, Melvins, Fantômas and Tomahawk fame, plus three free-jazz and avant-garde luminaries) feels at ease releasing an improv free-for-all reveals a renewed listeners’ interest, equally sincere and gullible, in what is often considered impenetrable musicians’ music.
Project mastermind, keyboardist Jamie Saft (Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, Merzbow and various John Zorn combos), explains that Slobber Pup are different from other improv in that they’re not mired in experiencing each small moment (“Our music goes to a much broader sense of form and exposition”). Alas, Black Aces sounds exactly like Spinal Tap’s infamous Jazz Odyssey: self-indulgent, unsexy and tedious. The mark it earns is for the cool cover art.