Guerilla Toss After signing with Tzadik, music Czar of

Guerilla Toss

After signing with Tzadik, music Czar of New York John Zorn’s label, and recording their debut CD for them, Peter Negroponte, told Zorn where he could go and insisted on putting out the G Toss’s own mix instead of the remix Zorn wanted. On first listen, you can see why Zorn freaked out. It’s muddy, murky, and fucked up. I had to turn it off way before the second song ended. So I tried again. “This is groovy,” I said to myself. Lightning bolts blasting the roots of trees. But I had to turn it off again after the third or fourth song. This is paranoid psychotic stuff.

An analysis of music like this is for fools, and a 49-year-old like me isn’t even going to try. This is the new generation’s music, kid’s stuff if you like, and it’s the kids who are going to find a place for it in our culture, like they found a place for the band’s live shows, as hardworking as James Brown. They are a phenomenon, and it’s a sexy, cerebral, wild time and scene whenever they play at a basement house show, at cop-killing volumes.

This is an all-star band, and that’s their one liability. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” and that happens sometimes. But today’s music is more about process than project, giving the fans a chance to jump into the act, where everyone’s a star.

Negroponte is a great artist, just like a great jazz musician. Simon Hanes, bassist, is a sexy, Robert Mapplethorpe of rock and roll, and eat your heart out if you never got to see him play on stage in his birthday suit. This is a band of personalities. Guitarist Arion Shafiee gives it a sexy look and sound, cute-as-a-button girl-next-door singer Kassie Carlson can be savage or sweet. And synth guy Ian Kovac is a hero of integrity, roping the whole thing together with blankets of buzz. I won’t tell you how to judge this music. Just buy it. 

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