Album Reviews

Ahleuchatistas – Heads Full of Poison

on November 12, 2012, 7:56am
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In the nearly 10 years that Asheville, NC’s Ahleuchatistas have been exploring the realms of electric jazz, rock, and avant, personnel shifts have taken the group from a trio to a two-piece. Today, Ahleuchatistas is composed of original charter member Shane Perlowin, performing double duty on guitar and bass, and drummer/percussionist Ryan Oslance, who joined the group on its 2009 release Of the Body Prone. On the group’s seventh release, Heads Full of Poison, Perlowin and Oslance produce a sonic assault that at once maintains Ahleuchatistas’ well-deserved reputation of boundary-slashing fusion while also proving that the band lost nothing in losing a member.

Ahleuchatistas’ mission statement is in its name, derived by combining Charlie Parker’s vintage bebop tune “Ah-Leu-Cha” with “Zapatistas”, a Mexican revolutionary movement. There’s a political bent to the band, though the commentary on Heads Full of Poision isn’t as overt as on earlier releases like What You Will and Even In the Midst…. But musically, Perlowin’s and Oslance’s playing more often than not balances restraint and full-on chaos. That balance is maintained by Oslance’s jazz precision and control on his kit and with the occasional explosion of percussive fury, it’s Oslance who keeps the focus tight to allow for Perlowin’s bass/guitar work to tinker and toil.

Interweaving elements of punk, jazz, grindcore, noise, and influences such as John Zorn, Captain Beefheart, and Tortoise, Ahleuchatistas continue to create a whirling dervish of unpredictable improvisation centered on a classic orchestral palette.

Essential Tracks: “Future Trauma”, “Lighted Stairs”, “A Way Out”

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