Synesthesia, the second release from the Chicago Underground Duo, is a stark departure from the sound cultivated in the group’s first recording, 12 Degrees of Freedom. The new release from Rob Mazurek (Isotope 217) and Chad Taylor (Sam Prekop Band) utilizes electronics, found sound, moog and studio manipulations, adding elements that make Synesthesia not just a jazz record, but a release that shuns categorization in any particular genre.
With assistance from engineer John McEntire, the Duo forged a record that flows very naturally from one song to the next, yet is completely unpredictable. At times the group uses overdubbing, such as on Taylor’s percussion on "Red Gradations", while on "Labyrinth and Threads" on the Face, the vibes and drums are played simultaneously. On "Blue Sparks…", the moog bass line was recorded first, with the cornet and drum tracks added later. For "Fluxus", the Duo was prepared to employ the same method until Sam Prekop happened by the studio and his services were garnered and the track recorded live, with Prekop on moog. Perhaps the track with the most interesting genesis is "Tram Transfer Nine". Mazurek found eleven sound sources and they were put through the board on eleven separate tracks. Next, Mazurek, Taylor and McEntire mixed the tracks live to tape. The tape was then dissected and reassembled to create the final piece.
Synesthesia is a very listenable record, yet at the same time the very nature of the avant guard.