Rob Clutton Dubious Pleasures

Whether taking on energy music, ethno-improv, improv with electronics or jazz "in the tradition,” Toronto’s Rob Clutton has proven himself to be a distinctive and inspired player. On his solo acoustic bass disc, Dubious Pleasures, he sets out to create as diverse a set of approaches to his instrument as is possible. Each piece balances sonic innovation, improvisation, compositional intent and his unerring instinct for melodies, while throwing in the odd catchy hook. The percussive groove of "Taken Over By the Hounds of Reason” hits a Gnawa-like rhythm early on, only to move into a pretty, hummable melody by the end. "How Big Are The Dots” is another story entirely, progressing from the high-pitched knife-sharpening sounds of the opening to ever so slowly becoming more tonal, while suggesting saxophone or trumpet tones along the way, and finally giving into a deeply satisfying arco passage followed up by electronic sounding drones at the end of its six minutes. Clutton is always tuneful, no matter how outside he gets and his manipulative tactics are supported by great compositional ideas. The CD remains low key (hey, it is solo bass) but it’s a very heartfelt statement and is very much in keeping with the adventurous and deeply bizarre spirit of the Rat Drifting label. (Rat-Drifting)