Chris Speed Emit

Chris Speed has become a very skilled composer and bandleader. Following last year's success, Iffy, he has returned to a group with whom he recorded a previous release on Songlines, Yeah No. Of the sidemen, Cuong Vu's languid trumpet playing suits Speed's more assertive style on clarinet and tenor sax. Speed shows his versatility with freedom and composition throughout. His Middle Eastern and klezmer influences in rhythm and harmony makes the complex time signatures sound fluid. Most tunes contain placid sections, which highlights the textural abilities of each band member. There is never the sense that Speed is trying to pack in too much into any one song, and the strategy never gets boring. Occasionally a sub-harmonic bass synth shows up to underpin bassist Skuli Sverrisson's lines, such as in "Suggestible." This is a good thing, as the bass is probably the weak link of this group. Drummer Jim Black plays with a stuttering technique that injects funk into every time signature. Emit once again demonstrates Speed's ability to make uncompromisingly adventurous ideas sound highly accessible. (Songlines)