Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Album Review: Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra - Dimensional Stardust

Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra
Dimensional Stardust  
*** and1/2 out of ***** 

Rob Mazurek has been doing his thing on the Chicago jazz scene for almost twenty five years and his newest album Dimensional Stardust is a definite high point during that time. His Exploding Star Orchestra has been going strong since 2005 and their approach to avant-garde and free jazz hits a few magical moments throughout the new album. 

The orchestra is a large collective with with Mazurek leading the way as director/composer as well as contributing on piccolo trumpet, electronic renderings, modular synth. Other players are Damon Locks - voice, electronics, texts Nicole Mitchell - flutes Macie Stewart - violins Tomeka Reid - cellos Joel Ross - vibraphone Jeff Parker - guitar Jaimie Branch - trumpet Angelica Sanchez - acoustic piano, electric piano Ingebrigt Håker Flaten - bass Chad Taylor - drums, percussion Mikel Patrick Avery - drums, percussion John Herndon - drum machines.

Opener "Sun Core Tet (Parable 99)" begins the record brightly with tense violins, a moving flute and bass rolls. The ending of the track features a cool rhythmic breakdown while the following "A Wrinkle In Time Sets Concentric Circles Reeling" makes for an excellent one-two opening punch with it's killer interlocking finale. While Locks lyrics add a different feel to the straight jazz they aren't very enlightening but the bass thumping and synths/strings propel "Galaxy 1000".

"The Careening Prism Within (Parable 43)" is at the heart of this release as avant-garde dance music and it would be great if it stretched out even further. The album dips with the less engaging "Abstract Dark Energy (Parable 9)" and repetitive flute work of "Parable of Inclusion" but picks back up with the percussive title track that uses fiery xylophone and drums as trumpet notes hold strong among the swirling beats. 

The record wraps up on the gorgeous hypnotic closer "Autumn Pleiades" which is a dynamite collaboration between all involved. Mazurek has written and arraigned a challenging yet rewarding full length with Dimensional Stardust as his Exploding Star Orchestra deliver the outer space sounds and shapes which are incredibly accessible this go round.
Support the artists, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


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