Degenerate Art Ensemble Rinko

This ten-piece unit from Seattle have put together a suspenseful, thought provoking disc that combines jazz and classical. Rinko is a suite to accompany a Japanese Butoh dance performance. Most of this disc moves at a glacial pace, heightening the suspense with drawn out, sinister chords and strange instrumental groupings. This disc would definitely work well as a dance performance, or better yet, a film noir soundtrack - in an earlier incarnation, the Degenerates wrote a score for Fritz Lang's Metropolis. The recording is superb, highlighting the incredible detail in the writing and ensemble playing. The ensemble doesn't rely on a rhythm section, each member of the group reinforces the meter, whether brass, string or reed. This is not a jazz ensemble - not once does it fall into a bop-driven groove or collective improvisation. Nevertheless, there are horn riffs and chord changes that recall Mingus's more thematic pieces. The level of playing among each individual is very high, and almost everyone gets a little moment in the spotlight in little solo sections within the composition. Rinko is a highly accomplished surprise that would appeal to a wide variety of people who like their music dark and stormy. (Unit Circle Rekkids)