Axis & Alignment
thrill 106 - 2002
Axis & Alignment represents the 7th release by the Chicago Underground collective, and 3rd for the duo of Rob Mazurek (cornet, electronics) and Chad Taylor (percussion). The Duo?s last album, 2000?s Synesthesia, found Mazurek and Taylor fully integrating elements of electronica and studio manipulation with great success. Axis & Alignment was recorded after a year of extensive touring with Isotope 217 and the recording and release of the Chicago Underground Quartet?s debut album. These influences inform the melodic, lively compositions found on Axis & Alignment. Those who have seen the Duo live have borne witness to Chad Taylor?s astounding performance on drum kit and vibraphone, which he often plays simultaneously. \"Microexit\" leads the album off with one of Taylor?s most haunting vibraphone melodies and perfectly segues into the shapeshifting techno- influenced polyrhythms of \"Lifelines\", where Mazurek?s cornet melody wraps around the percussion. Longtime live favorites \"Exponent Red\" and \"Access & Enlightenment\" are anchored by a bottom-heavy synth line and a shuffling rhythm. Elsewhere, the Duo further expand their boundaries such as on \"Average Assumptions\", an abstract duet for piano and vibraphone that recalls Rob?s recent recordings as a solo artist. Axis & Alignment is one of the most listenable, yet avant- garde recordings to come from Chicago?s fertile Underground. Dig the new tone science!