Wasteland Jazz Unit - Wasteland Jazz Ensemble 2xLP (Gilgongo, 2022)
Wasteland Jazz Unit is a staple in the world of destroyed music. With countless releases cataloged by a literal who's who in the field, (cassettes, CDrs and records on American Tapes, Troniks, New Forces, Oxen, Torn Light, Nashazphone and of course - there was a split 7" w/ Tiger Hatchery on Gilgongo), the duo of Jon Lorenz and John Rich occasionally expand their scathing, feedback-saturated reed work into a full ensemble. Here, as a 7 piece group including Dylan Posa (guitar), Edward Ricart (bass), Matthew Reis (electronics), Ryan Jewell (percussion), and Brett Nagafuchi (percussion), there are textures and fractured forms throughout this high-volume chaos which calls to mind the work of Hijokaidan, as broadcast through Borbetomagus. A heavy and delightfully excruciating listen! 2xLP, gatefold with extensive liner notes by Inzane Johnny.
"I feel bad for any noise outfits gearing up for release on the Gilgongo label, as from this point onward your work will be held in comparison to Wastleland Jazz Ensemble. This septet seems to be centered in Ohio (and based around the Wasteland Jazz Unit duo of Jon Lorenz and John Rich), though I probably need to pull up Google maps and look for a mile-wide crater in the Buckeye state to determine the exact location of where this went down. With guitars, reeds, electronics and percussion, they absolutely wail without respite for four satisfying sides, the throttle either pushed to the floor or broken off entirely. Really taken aback at how righteously brutal of a long-player they dropped! I’ll concede that anyone can make a racket, but Wasteland Jazz Ensemble push it so hard here that it goes far beyond the realm of “anyone can do this”. Sure, most able-bodied people can go for a jog too, but what Wasteland Jazz Ensemble do here is run a marathon barefoot while puffing a mouthful of Tatuaje cigars. I love me some Hijokaidan and Borbetomagus, and much of Wasteland Jazz Ensemble sounds like Hijokaidan playing alongside Borbetomagus in a tangle of sweat and fury. The musical equivalent of mixing every flavor soda at the fountain, sure to disgust the majority of the population and deeply satisfy the few of us freaks." - Yellow Green Red
"Some releases should come with a warning label. We are not talking about Tipper Gore (remember her?) Parents' Music Resource Center (PMRC) stickers warning of the dangers of ''Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society" of the late 1980s. No, the alert that should be attached to S/T by the Wasteland Jazz Ensemble might read something like "secure all sharp objects and nail down anything that could be blown away." Similar to preparing for a category 4 hurricane, there is a bit of preparation required to experience this recording.
Wasteland Jazz Ensemble is an expansion of the duo Wasteland Jazz Unit of Jon Lorenz and John Rich. Both are reed players specializing in free improvisation with a premium on noise. Their saxophone and clarinets are fed through feedback electronics resulting in an onslaught of energy and noise, maybe best described as entropy music for robots. Their roots are in the Japanoise music of Masami Akita aka Merzbow, C.C.C.C., Hijokaidan, and Incapacitants, with close ties to the reeds and guitar trio Borbetomagus.
With this double LP, the duo expands into a septet that includes bassist Edward Ricart, the electronics of Matthew Reis, guitarist Dylan Posa, and percussionists Brett Nagafuchi and Ryan Jewell. The touchpoint of this septet begins with Peter Brötzmann's Machine Gun (BRÖ, 1968), John Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse!, 1966), and Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz (Atlantic, 1961), then incorporates the noise experimentations of Cuts Of Guilt, Cuts Deeper (Rare Noise, 2015) by Merzbow, Mats Gustafsson, Thurston Moore, and alázs Pándi.
'Untitled I' begins with a drumstick count into mayhem much like John Zorn's compositions for his Naked City band. But where Zorn's chaos may last 20 seconds, the WJE expands the tumult for nearly fifteen minutes. The shortest track, 'Untitled V,' at just over four minutes is no less punishing. The septet equipped with Reis' electronics, plus the feedback via contact mics of Lorenz' saxophone and Rich's clarinet does not allow for a pause to take a breath throughout the seven tracks. The expansion from a duo to this larger ensemble brings added layers to the experience. The thunder of Ricart's bass and the double drumming of Nagafuchi and Jewell add nuance, if you can accept nuance as a possibility of free jazz and noise. The music is not for the faint of heart, nor is the sound faint in your ears. It is a full-on cyclone experience without melodies and without discernible arrangements. It does though contain an animating spirit. A powerful life force that is indisputable for those prepared to listen." - All About Jazz