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The Aristocrats: Culture Clash

Virtuosos jam in the name of fun.

Given their celebrated involvement in Steven Wilson’s recent musical adventures, neither six-string wizard Guthrie Govan nor percussive maestro Marco Minnemann need do much more that show up to get a large percentage of observant prog fans foaming at the mouth.

The Aristocrats is a lower-profile enterprise, of course, but anyone who wants to hear what these extraordinary musicians can do when left to their own devices need only lend an ear to the first few bars of Dance Of The Aristocrats. The opening cut from the band’s second studio effort is a jittering fusion-tinged funk freakout driven robustly along by bassist Bryan Beller’s lurching pulse. Its six minutes nimbly bridge the gap between unifying groove and mind-boggling indulgence, with both showmanship and hooks in plentiful supply.

In fact, Culture Clash suggests a desire to explore and conquer as much musical territory as possible. From the lissom jazz-funk maze of the title track to Louisville Stomp’s outrageous swing-a-billy tornado and on to the fidgeting aquatic jazz of Gaping Head Wound, this album’s energy, joy and fizzing muso-to-muso chemistry frequently threatens to erupt through the speakers.