[sic] Magazine

Landon Caldwell & Flower Head Ensemble – Simultaneous Systems

Splitting the difference between experimental ambience and free-from jazz, Simultaneous Systems has a back-story as intriguing as the mind-expanding record itself. The seven members of Landon Caldwell’s Flower Head Ensemble were each given the same morphing tone as a starting point and then improvised over it independently and remotely, Caldwell blending the results with breath-taking aplomb on this three-track, 45-minute debut from the talented troupe.

The suite starts in noir detective mode, something going down on the desolate docks after dark, an oily slick lapping at crusty hulls, lonely brass parts braying away at mid-distance over simmering ambience. Vibraphone oscillations swell the veins in your ear drums, organ drone hanging miasmatically like a sea mist. Developing organically into more of a meditative mind-massage courtesy of brushed percussion, alto sax skronk heavy on the reverb drifts in and out to keep things spicy, this shape-shifting odyssey pulled in multiple directions at once yet staying true to its course.

A cosmic wave of strings and gentle synths release the tension, close mic’d static minimising the sudden enormity of the universe that’s conjured as a backdrop – the last of its kind, that stand-out sax playing calling out forlornly for a mate among the stars, organ drone and pan-pipes jamming out to infinity over the closing exchanges. Heightened-consciousness composition meeting inspirational improv, Simultaneous Systems is huge in scope and sound and delivers in spades.

~Simultaneous Systems is out now via Moon Glyph.~