Adult Jazz: Gist Is (SPARE THOUGHT) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Adult Jazz

Gist Is

Spare Thought

Aug 13, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Let's get this out of the way right at the beginning; Adult Jazz sound like the prodigy child of Dirty Projectors and alt-J. But that's not enough. Their album, Gist Is, is a meticulously-produced contender for most surprising debut in recent memory. They deserve every bit of praise heaped upon them thus far. Simply put, Gist Is really is that good.

It opens with the droney "Hum," which builds on its minimalism until it breaks into a brisk syncopation. This pattern is repeated on several tracks, but never to the point of redundancy. "Donne Tongue" plays with the opening melodies halfway through the track and collapses into a scat-rhythm breakdown complete with excited Beefheart-esque guitar riffs. "Spook" is another standout track, a nearly 10 minute long exercise in efficiencydespite clinging to the same primitive ideas, the song never wears itself out.

That goes for Gist Is as a whole. Adult Jazz establish a modus operandi of milking harmonic perfection with minimal trickery before frantically thumping out free-form beats layered with reverbed grooves. Yet, each time it comes off just as slick and wonderful as the first track. The songs are somber, reflective, and polished, but they are also inexplicably laid back. They drift so seamlessly from tightened composition to expressive freedom, and the effect is a dramatic development of songs from barebones concepts into fully realized orchestrations within a few minutes. Not too much happens on this record that isn't downright impressive, from the flawlessly executed vocals to the subtle, yet bold, horn arrangements. Whatever their next move, Gist Is will leave a mark for Adult Jazz as an innovative and sophisticated act that surpassed all expectations. (www.adultjazz.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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