Ground is the latest work of veteran self-styled musician Thomas Makucevich, an artist who has been exploring and expanding avant-garde and experimental soundscapes for decades. Makucevich grew up on the east coast, learning to play piano before starting grade school, and slowly forging the excitingly eclectic musical perspective that will delight, surprise, and challenge listeners of Ground.
“Current,” the first composition off Ground, begins with a chordal structure familiar to modern jazz listeners, expressed through expansive piano voicings. The expectations set up by this smooth introduction are immediately violated by a distorted and dissonant melody, signaling to the listener that the impending journey is headed into uncharted territory.
The album is an inquiry into opposites, setting up dialectic between the familiar and the alien, between space and object, between the serious and the absurd. There are times that this tension rises until it resolves, resulting in a satisfying synthesis of sound and imagery, as on the third track, “Mill River.” Yet often there is no respite from the strange strain of synthetic and organic elements competing and retreating throughout Ground. The comfortable chordal structure of jazz quartet instrumentation is already a memory by the time you step off the elevator into a post-apocalyptic circus.
“You would have to be half mad to dream me up,” the Mad Hatter told Alice. Ground easily says the same.
Makucevich offers the honest insight of a classically trained baroque musician to an incredibly dynamic and surreal avant-garde project. The most memorable feature of this album is its transgression of narrative. The overt theatricality of Ground serves as a camera obscura, inverting and reflecting the listener’s experience free of subtlety and pretension. The landscape, the characters, the sudden arch of a story that dissolves as soon as it appears, are different each time you listen, demonstrating Makucevich's talent at abstract sculpting of sound. Ground is as exhilarating as it is impressive, beautiful orchestration rises from a noisy abyss. When you finally disembark from the journey you will surely find yourself in a slightly different place than where you first got on.
Sarah Beth Lesson
01. Current...6:19 ($0.80)
02. The Adventures of Bamboo
Flyrod at the Glowney house...3:46 ($0.80)
03. Mill River...6:06 ($0.80)
04. Chago's Trip...5:00 ($0.80)
05. Nazmo Tow...4:24 ($0.80)
06. Interlude...0:44 (FREE)
07. Onabus/Nimbus...4:29 ($0.80)
08. For Petey Kathy & LUFO...6:10 ($0.80)
All Songs...36:58 ($5.00)