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Klaxon Mutant Allstars | Robot Invasion

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Robot Invasion

by Klaxon Mutant Allstars

Klaxon Mutant Allstars, a fellowship of jazz musicians whose music lives between the worlds of jazz, electronica, indie rock, and hip-hop. ROBOT INVASION is their debut album.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz-Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Start Time
1:50 $0.99
2. Desaparacere
8:21 album only
3. Dear 70% (We Are Being Ruled By the 15%)
8:18 $0.99
4. Klaxon Tom Bomb
3:38 $0.99
5. Jamie Moyer
12:22 $0.99
6. Start Time (Transition)
0:57 $0.99
7. Riled Up
7:40 $0.99
8. Against Her Better Wishes (We Hit the Rewind Button)
5:21 $0.99
9. Taxi Driver Blues
6:37 $0.99
10. Robot Invasion
2:54 $0.99
11. Start Time (Assimilation Completed)
0:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Klaxon Mutant Allstars have emerged as a unique Bay Area group inhabiting the worlds between jazz, electronica, indie rock, and hip hop. Their music has been described as “playful, haunting, exuberant, and –most importantly - expertly crafted by a whole team of virtuosos.” Festivus 2013. The group consists of Henry Hung (trumpet, keys, and live effects), Eric Garland (drums), Colin Hogan (keyboards), Kasey Knudsen (saxophone), Georges Ban-Weiss (bass), and Sam Bevan (bass).

All members of the ensemble are vital performers in the Bay Area, whose resumes span the musical spectrum. These professional musicians have worked with major pop acts such as Bobby McFerrin, Donovan, tUneYards, TV on the Radio, Lyrics Born, Too$hort, Deltron 3030, Thao Nguyen, Maria Muldaur, Zigaboo Modeliste, John Vanderslice to performances with jazz stalwarts such as James Moody, Stanley Clarke, Jimmy Cobb, Dave Liebman, Joshua Redman, Maria Schneider, Fred Frith, Ben Goldberg, etc.

Everyone in the band contributes compositions and custom arrangements that reimagine what jazz is today by blending the soundscapes of a multi-genre aesthetic impacted by emerging technology. The album ROBOT INVASION shows the Klaxon Mutant Allstars finding themselves through the reshaping of what jazz means for today’s generation of musicians.

“Start Time” begins the album and is written by drummer Eric Garland, the musician who brought the Klaxons together. One of the most highly in demand musicians in the Bay Area, Garland is known for his work with Donovan and a founding member of the Bay Area’s Jazz Mafia, a coalition of jazz musicians who are renown for bending genres, combining classical, hip hop, and jazz into large symphonic works. “Start Time” evokes the elements the Klaxon Mutant Allstars seek in their music - groove based music that is accessible but intricate enough for the jazz musician.

“Desaparecere” is a Deerhoof cover featuring the bassist Dr, George Ban-Weiss, who by day is a professor of engineering and by night lends his musical talents to not only the Klaxons, but to his own group the Autonomous Rogers and violinist Mads Tolling. Deerhoof is known for their highly charged and intelligent songwriting, and have for years been the standard bearer for adventurous and original indie rock. The Klaxons use the song as a platform to explore improvisational possibilities and features exciting solos from both George Ban-Weiss and saxophonist Kasey Knudsen.

Immediately following is a song by trumpeter Henry Hung, “Dear 70%...” The piece was written after a dismal turn out on an election day in 2011. This piece features Hung’s flowering exploration of playing keyboard and trumpet simultaneously. “There have been many attempts to manipulate timbre with extended trumpet technique, but the addition of a second voice via keyboard has really opened up a new world for me, texturally, melodically, and harmonically. The new possibilities are simultaneously exhilarating and daunting not only in the scope of the possibilities but also how far away from where I want to be musically.” This song features the Hung’s inventive arranging by switching traditional roles each instrument plays. The bass and drums are used as melodic leads as the horns act as the underlying bass role.

“Klaxon Tomb Bomb” is another original by drummer Garland and has been used as a theme for the band’s indie rock yearnings.

“Jamie Moyer” is another original by trumpeter Henry Hung. “I was listening to the radio and heard that Jamie Moyer had made it back to the major leagues at the age of 49. I was so moved by the sheer audacity of his career, how he could still be in the league long after anyone thought he should be…a career built from modest talents, but lengthened through sheer will and experience.” This song features many textural twists and turns, demonstrating how the Klaxons redefine traditional roles for their instruments. The horn players adopt the role of the bassist at times, carrying the beat. This song is especially notable for the highly inventive soloing of both Colin Hogan and Kasey Knudsen. Knudsen’s solo is an especially remarkable one, which begins as a duet with her and drummer Garland. As the two trade phrases, Hung layers electronic effects, another staple to the Klaxon sound that demonstrates Knudsen’s amazing improvisational prowess to react to her own sounds being manipulated through pitch distortion and sampling.

Eric Garland’s second offering to the album “Riled Up.” The song features Garland’s highly inventive and clever writing, disguising meters with different poly-rhythmic feels and was written for saxophonist Riley Bandy. The song features an invigorating solo by keyboardist Hogan which leads to a solo section where the horn players, Knudsen and Hung, show once again their deep chemistry and ability to play off of each other’s ideas. The soloing section leads to a particularly brilliant solo by Garland who fittingly wraps up the soloing and brings the musicians back in for a recap of the song.

“Against Her Better Wishes, We Hit the Rewind Button” is the Klaxons’ sole ballad of the album written by Henry Hung. The horns begin a melodic strain which becomes the soul of the piece as their sounds are processed through heavy filters. This piece is based off a David Sedaris short story called “Home Videos,” a moving story about Sedaris’ mother.

Colin Hogan’s contribution to the album, “Taxi Driver Blues,” is a riveting tune that reveals the Klaxon’s deep roots in jazz improvisation. But much in the manner of the Klaxon’s style, the blues is unconventional by use of substitute chord changes and rhythmic hits for the soloist to perform over. Hogan demonstrates, once again, his virtuosic talent and creativity that has been honed by years of performing with his two other prodigiously talented brothers Steven and Julian in the Hogan Brothers.

“Robot Invasion” is a daydream of Hung’s visualized through song. The song evokes the low fidelity textures and breaks of early rap and hip hop with this raucous number. Hogan cues up his best Bernie Worrell impersonation as Hung ushers in the “robot invasion” through keyboard effects. Bassist Ban-Weiss is once again featured in a section that is a tribute to the bass breaks of the early 1980s.

“Start Time (Assimilation Completed)” finishes the album and fittingly pays homage to the electronic sounds of the 1980s, a period of nostalgia for all of the Klaxon members.



to write a review

Aaron Germain

More fun and creative music from the Bay
The Klaxtons' debut album is inventive, fearless, quirky, grooving and fun. It could be mistaken for something from the NY downtown scene; like John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet, for example. The experienced listener will be able to distincly smell the Bay Area, though. What's interesting is that they strongly reference music idioms that usually do not feature this instrumentation (trumpet, sax, keyboard, upright bass, and drums). For example, the 2 horns often function as part of the rhythm section, playing riff oriented harmonies. Those parts easily could have been written to be double stop riffs for guitar; but being played by trumpet and sax, over top of rock grooves on the upright bass, it has a very original sound. The influence of hip hop and electronica can be easily detected in the compositions, in that each instrument is often playing a rhythmic part in the function of a sample by a DJ. Like a DJ, they create tension and release by having the individual parts drop out and come back in strategically. Again, this DJ approach with an acoustic jazz instrumentation sounds very fresh.
And it should be noted that everyone plays fantastic, and represents their personality without restraint. Kasey Knudsen plays sax with remarkable fire and abandon on this record. Henry Hung displayed a variety of moods from melancholy, to bold and virile, all with a beautiful trumpet tone. Colin Hogan sounds characteristically soulful and sophisticated, particularly with a wild, pitch-bending, R&B flavored mini-Korb solo. Drummer Eric Garland and bassist George Ban-Weiss always sound inspired and on-point, laying down great feeling pockets.
Check it out. It's all very clever and unpredictable. It will keep you on your toes!