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Cold Bleak Heat: "The Voice of the People Is the Voice of God"

Cold Bleak Heat: "The Voice of the People Is the Voice of God"

Label:Family Vineyard
Release Date:2007

By Bret McCabe | Posted 6/27/2007

What really keeps the average pop and rock music fan from digging on improvisation isn't dissonance, atonality, or even the complete absence of hooks. Those contribute, mind you, but so does the music's unabridged emotions. It's rough going taking in all that raw energy if you're not prepared to receive it, and witnessing a group go cosmic when you're not ready is just as likely to send you running for the doors as it is to spontaneously induce feral joy. Cold Bleak Heat--the brain-massaging outfit of multipurpose drummer Chris Corsano, trumpeter Greg Kelly, No Neck bassist Matt Heyner, and the well-seasoned heart of saxophonist Paul Flaherty--cannily sidesteps such an aggressive assault with the sneaky lead track from its sophomore release, Simitu.

Of course, anybody who knows his Kenneth Terroade from his Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson knows anything titled "The Voice of the People Is the Voice of God" is, at some point, going to plummet into a great unknown. Corsano's firecracker rumbles and Heyner's textural bowing lead in, and "Voice" crackles to life as voices chant in the background. This low flame continues for some two minutes before Kelly and Flaherty jump in at full speed, intertwining lines. The piece still feels somewhat friendly and structured for the first five minutes, but as Flaherty and Kelly play off each other and Heyner and Corsano play chase the hectic rhythms, you slowly realize that the full 12 minutes of "Voice" is as loosely and chaotically held together as a shantytown, and you've just been given a guided tour.

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