Inner Space/Outer Space

Ninja Tune

Space is the place. Anyone who has studied the Gospel according to Sun Ra knows that. And, Atom TM and Burnt Friedman — in their third outing as Flanger — have reassembled to spread the Word. However, this is not the discordant esoterica one can only find in the Sun. While there’s a heady playfulness about Flanger, they leave most of the insanity for their overtures (like the frenetic schizophrenia of the opening minute of “The Men Who Fell From Earth”). Even when they get choppier than a Luc Besson plot (like in “Le Dernier Combat”), the electronic duo amazingly stay true to the groove.

Inner Space/Outer Space is an amazingly fascinating project. Where the Sonar Kollektiv and its nu jazz cadre use jazz to enliven their electronica, Flanger on this disc use electronic music and its approach to production to create a unique brand of jazz. Using musicians from South America and Europe, Friedman and Atom TM overdub like madmen to create smoky soundscapes that stir and challenge and surprisingly avoid the embittering cliches of their fusion predecessors. Like Teo Macero before them, Flanger display the artistry of production without being so egocentric or insipid to drain the organic power of the musicians. This is best exemplified by “Galak,” with its sparse groove of polyrhythmic percussion, synths, laconic vibes, and crawling bass line. The song and this disc are truly a treat, and Inner Space/Outer Space should be your only traveling destination this holiday season.

Ninja Tune: http://www.ninjatune.net

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