By Derek Taylor
One a known quantity, the other largely unknown – at least in the context of the record-consuming demographic Clean Feed commonly caters too – Black Bombaim & Peter Brötzmann will probably find the most initial traction with said followers of border-crossing free jazz. The Lisbon-based label has minted work by the Teutonic reed splinterer in the past, most recently Soul Food in the company of Britons John Edwards and Steve Noble. Black Bombaim is a Portuguese psychedelic rock trio comprised of guitarist Ricardo Miranda, electric bassist Vito “Tojo” Rodrigues and Paulo “Senra” Gonçalves on drums with a half dozen releases on the Lovers and Lollypops imprint, a label which co-produced the record in concert with CF subsidiary Shhpuma.
Brötzmann is no greenhorn to rock and noise-leaning settings going back to his seminal tenure as one-fourth of Last Exit in the 1980s and onward through collaborations with Japanese string-shredder Keiji Hano and his own more recent outfit Full Blast among other outlets. Split into five parts, four of which couple into what would correspond to LP sides, the performance unfolds as a concerted 47-minute blowout. Brötzmann initiates the assault with a raw, coarse-grained bombardment of saxophonic blasts, soon to be joined by his compatriots in a rising wave of amplifier-bolstered sound that consolidates surprisingly fast into a rolling, backbeat-powered groove. Miranda moves to the foreground, sculpting an arena-worthy solo saturated with vapor trail fuzz and the plumes of cannabis smoke are all but odiferous in the offing. Brötzmann taps the vocal properties of his horn resuming the role of fractious, hardheaded front man.
And so it goes with Brötzmann continuing to vacate all available air in his lungs at high velocity, conceding little if any to the rhythms and drones that undulate and recombinate around him. In a strange way the amalgam recalls guitarist Derek Bailey’s encounters with Japanese noise rock trio The Ruins in the manner the two constituencies never seem to mesh wholly, but rather use their colliding dissonances in the service of larger gestalt vested in unrelenting attitude and confidence. As with Bailey’s meetings this one hinges in large part on listener willingness to take the confrontation on face terms, the sense of two fundamentally intractable forces sometimes speaking over and past each other. Whatever one’s conclusions there’s an undeniable thrill hearing the seventy-five year old Brötzmann cede little if any ground to the young turks at his flanks. And as for guys in Black Bombaim they sound like they’re having an unmitigated ball confronting the white-bearded road warrior on his own terms.