Mood music for the cool kids? Space rock for jazzers? Atmospheric expressionism for the improv…
Mood music for the cool kids? Space rock for jazzers? Atmospheric expressionism for the improv set? Invite Your Eye, the debut full-length release from the trio of saxophonist-composer Ilhan Ersahin; guitarist, bassist and keyboards manipulator Dave Harrington of electronic duo Darkside; and high-profile drummer Kenny Wollesen, falls between a lot of cracks, genre-wise. That probably owes to its origins: These tracks, produced and edited by Harrington, originated in free-flowing, cross-pollinating late-night jams at Nublu, Ersahin’s club in New York’s East Village. Further, the music was inspired by Robert Altman’s 1973 film noir The Long Goodbye.
The results, a blend of live takes and overdubbed textures, sometimes wander — as on the mellow, ambling “The Long Goodbye (Part 1),” alternately led by guitar and keyboards and gaining layers of sound as it goes — and sometimes rage, as during a long, nervy slide-guitar solo on “Wreck the Study.” Is the opener, “And It Happens Every Day,” a nod to that thing they do every night when they perform together? The track certainly seems emblematic of the trio’s highly collaborative and interactive approach: Loose strands of guitar chords are supported by cymbal flourishes and a lonely, searching saxophone line that grows frantic as the piece builds, giving way to Western cinematic guitar figures and tumbling percussion. A steady beat kicks in and Ersahin takes over again, with everything culminating in a long coda marked by gradually dissipating instruments.
"Dusty Village,” built on a stuttering funk beat, offers more space for Harrington’s guitar to roam, and crystalline electric piano padding sets up the trippy ballad “Even As You Smile,” which also features brash, overdriven six-string lines and passages that wouldn’t have been out of place on an early Pink Floyd album. The title track opens with a sort of sax choir, as Ersahin plays a frantic solo atop multiple harmonizing saxophones, cueing a percussion-laden electronica groove topped by zippy keyboard maneuvers. Invite Your Eye is all impressionistic, vaguely psychedelic, frequently entrancing and unlike much of anything else out there. — Philip Booth