Fontanelle brings a state of mind to their latest album Vitamin F on Southern Lord
You can almost feel the thick haze of smoke. The time signature entraps us until we break the shackles of conventionalism, and we become then become the victims of a genre. An out of body experience. 1973. Trumpets blair to resurrect the ghost of Miles Davis. Music conceptualized from the precedent set from the lively chaos of Art Ensemble of Chicago.
It’s 3 a.m., and my eyes are bloodshot. I’m not sure which way is up or down at this point. And with the psych-noir bordering a free jazz homocide on their hands, Fontanelle’s “Watermelon Hands” (possibly an offbeat reference to Herbie Hancock), you may have to blink to realize this song did not come from the embers of the historic Bitches Brew sessions. You can thank Randall Dunn (sunn 0))), Black Mountain, Wolves in the Throne Room) for replicating the essence of what made that moment in time so great. The electric piano, climactic trumpet blasts, rock steady rhythms all collide together on this song until they have made their point.
Could Vitamin F be pent up emotion from 10 years between recordings? Possibly. Perhaps, it’s safer to say that it is a result of built-up experience through Rex Ritter’s time with sun 0))). Also Matt Morgan and Brian Foote combine efforts for the IDM group Nudge along with a slew of other bands .These members have been a part of these bands since the 2002 kranky release of Style Drift. What happened? Where did the texturized synths go, and what prompted the change. It’s as if the band got a heavy dose of self confidence instead of contemplative creativity.
Their move to the Southern Lord label is an exodus from the fuzzed-out electronic daydreams that permeated their self-titled release or F., but it’s not a far cry from the essence of what Fontanelle established. Their communicative work compliments and challenges their core elements of jazz they bring into the new era of Fontanelle.
Fontanelle – Watermelon Hands
Call “Watermelon Hands” a rip off, but it’s the most elaborate hoax you will find of this genre. A raw compendium of timely and accurate role playing, you may have Bennie Maupin impressed with just how good “The Adjacent Possible” is.
The title track is an intense precision mind fuck. “Traumaturge” takes from the soul of Psychedelic romps like Pink Fairies and even some Animals/Steppenwolf song crafting. Suddenly the band has transported out of the spectrum of expressive ’70s jazz into ’70s psych rock. The song burns like an estranged exploitative film score. Do you need more convincing? “When the Fire Hits the Forest” brings both genres together into something that is bigger than the band itself.
Sure you will find a rift between the kranky days and the Southern Lord release. I can understand it to be a little off-putting, especially the brashness Vitamin F proclaims.
What you will find is that this is an album that will take time to understand. There is no way to grasp the concept of these songs in one listen or one instant because what Fontanelle has brought to light is a state of mind.