A Look in The Local Bin: Jorge Arana Trio

What would Kansas City be without Jorge Arana Trio? Far less weird. The trio jams the best parts of jazz, math rock, noise, latin, metal, and any other genre you can think of together to make music that is truly beyond classification. Their latest release, Mammoth, has been pressed and is waiting to hit the shelves of your favorite record joint (the official release date is September 23rd, so mark your calendars). But for all of us who can’t wait, the band is playing a show this Friday at the Jackpot where they’ll have limited edition copies on silver vinyl.

Mammoth moves away from the latin math-jazz (think The Mars Volta around Frances The Mute) of Oso and into heavier and darker grooves. The album wastes no time kicking its listeners in the ears. “Traffic Time Exorcism” begins with a riff that drags everything into its downward spiral. Flashing between bass-tinged picking patterns and noise-dusted chords, the song blasts the trumpet of its own existence–tearing away any thought that Mammoth will be anything but grimey and dark.

“Traffic Time Exorcism” shifts perfectly into the album’s de facto single, “Speak, Beast.” The second song of Mammoth continues the trend of heavier riffs, more punishing drums, and swelling bass. “Speak, Beast” grooves like a Sun Ra tribute to Iron Maiden or a Tobacco tribute to Tchaikovsky. Even at its darkest, the song manages to float bits of light along its churning aural murk to create a feel that is as complicated as its time signatures.


While the album is less jittery than the trio’s previous material, Mammoth does hammer together enough time changes and odd beats to keep even the most ardent fraction fiends hooked. And perhaps this is the biggest aesthetic step Jorge Arana Trio makes with Mammoth. Whereas Oso‘s shifts seemed to favor disjunction, this album uses time and key changes to meld parts, to shortcut obvious musical progressions for more interesting and stranger melodies.

This ability to frankenstein riffs together to make truly unique melodies reaches a fever pitch in the title track. “Mammoth,” slowly builds its momentum, tumbling through twisted chords and driving, cymbal-heavy percussion. Running the song’s monolithic riff through pedals and different instruments, Jorge Arana manages to make the musical equivalent of an arm getting caught in the teeth of an industrial gear. “Mammoth” is arresting in its mangled beauty–arguably one of the most expansive and powerful songs in the trio’s repertoire.

As shown above, Jorge Arana Trio puts on shows that roil with intensity. That Bent Knee and Hyperbor will also be playing Friday’s show only solidifies The Jackpot as the place to start the weekend. You do not want to miss out on this concert (or record).

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