RIYLGarage a Trois
Medeski Martin and Wood
The Grassy Knoll
Tracklist1."Hojo" - 4:27
2."Panang" - 5:54
3."Cloudburst" - 4:07
4."Sisa Boto" - 3:46
5."Persephone Under Mars" - 5:12
6."We are New People" - 6:34
7."Toad Garden" - 4:18
8."Punk Rock Guilt" - 3:22
9."Nasty Gnostic" - 5:02
10."Dorothy" - 3:30
11."Open the Door of Peace" - 6:50
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This may not be the album you play on the front porch for that typical Pabst Blue Ribbon night with friends, unless your friends’ idea of a party is to balance chakras and travel deep within their own minds to an enchanted rainforest where a flittering moth with seven wings, or a toad with two heads, or a fire-breathing purple dragon may find itself at home. Assuming this fairly comical scenario is not the case, listening to Stampede by Critters Buggin alone is no poor choice as the album may provide just the right personal dose of surreal metaphysical escape. Individuals who want a break from reality for just over fifty-three minutes, and also enjoy climbing high into their own heads, would get a lot out of this rambunctious album. In other words, listening to it alone with gigantic headphones and eyes closed may be the most advantageous way to experience the ride, however, it may be just as pleasurable around a fire in the woods with a few buddies that crave experimental jazz.
Drummer Mike Chamberlain of Ten Hands, Pearl Jam and Saturday Night Live, created Stampede along with “saxophonics” master Skerik, bassist, saxophonist and clarinetist Matt Houser, and percussionist Mike Dillon. Several guest musicians added touches of violin, viola, and guitar, in addition to various loops, dubs and the like. As masters of sound, production and jazz, all members provide their own imperfectly perfect dissonant outliers of cacophonous frequencies that somehow fit together to arrange a beautifully unique musical collage.
The album begins with “Hojo,” an exploration of one of Skerik’s indescribable saxophone frenzies that climbs into a grin-cracking confusion of keys, drums, and odd sounds. It leads right into a whimsical vibe solo that begins the second song, “Panang.” The rest of the album follows a similar irregular sequence, where the listener may imagine ascending from an earthy jungle to a cumulus cloud, back to the earthy jungle, over to a tranquil glimmering river, and so on personifying the use of intermittent heavy grooves, light airy jazz, funky indigenous beats, and empty space.
The album has been compared to that of a contemporary Miles Davis. The creativity throughout is fairly unmatched and rather indescribable, however, similar sounds can be found in the music of Garage a Trois, which includes many of the same members as those on Stampede. This album is dated and comes to us from 2005, but it is completely worth mentioning now for all of those diehard avant-garde jazz lovers that may have missed it when it debuted.