Matthew Shipp and Anti-Pop Consortium

Matthew Shipp and Anti-Pop Consortium

Matthew Shipp vs. Anti-Pop Consortium

Thirsty Ear

The mere fact that the names Matthew Shipp and Anti-Pop Consortium share the same album cover speaks volumes as to what one should expect as the first beats emanate from the speakers. Such a collaboration is indeed a logical progression for all involved, as both Shipp and Anti-Pop Consortium have continually sought to redefine the conceptual and sonic boundaries of their respective mediums. Here they are joined by Khan Jamal on vibes, bassist William Parker, drummer Guillermo Brown and Daniel Carter on trumpet.

The anticipation precipitated by being assigned this album to review quickly devolved into disappointment as each track segued into the next, without proffering anything epiphanal. Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly no lack of the hypnotic beats and cerebral lyrics expected of Anti-Pop Consortium; the same being true for the unconventional and exigent fingering of Shipp. It’s just that the two seldom resonate with one another. As the title Matthew Shipp vs. Anti-Pop Consortium implies, these are two competing, not complementing, forces. The end product falls short of being synergistic. Neither contender in this sonic duel really lets loose; both Shipp and Anti-Pop Consortium seem too passive and deferential toward each other. Still, even with that said, the desire to experiment, to further stretch the parameters of one’s form, mustn’t be overlooked. While many contemporary jazz and hip-hop musicians are complacent in their craft — regurgitating the same formula, album after album — Shipp and Anti-Pop Consortium eschew such a sedentary approach to (re)creating music. They instead adhere to Louis Armstrong’s dictum that jazz is music never played the same way once. And for this reason alone, this album should be appreciated.

Thirsty Ear:

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