12twelve Speritisimo

12twelve Speritisimo
Spanish quartet 12twelve explore the same interstitial territory between rock and jazz that Tortoise patrolled, especially in the midpoint of their back catalogue. Indeed, Speritisimo refers to a form of free jazz from the beginning of the ’70s. Members shift and trade instruments to give each piece a distinct character, with saxophone being swapped for Rhodes piano, plus a turntable and frugal electronics gilding the edges. The drum and bass are the undeniable engine room here, firmly thrusting forward or churning the waters while storms brew overhead. Steve Albini’s recording gives the band a gleaming edge that Tortoise member/producer John McIntire’s softer digital approach never quite achieves: the sound of a band playing live in a room. The guitar spits and shimmers while the drums breathe in all the air around them, exhaling thunder. Also the effect treatments and electronics seem more in the moment than the afterthoughts of a digital editor. There are no missed steps here, only surefootedness and lean lines of attack that surge and withdraw with sudden fury and plangent satisfaction. An excellent many-mood, many-mode offering. (Boa)