Sam Shalabi / Alexandre St-Onge / Michel F. Côté – Jane And The Magic Bananas


Shalabi’s electric guitar, St-Onge’s bass with electronics and Côté’s amplified drums swear to us that the improvisational momentousness defining other brave and more renowned trios is not lost yet. In the 35 minutes of Jane And The Magic Bananas they don’t seem to care too much about aesthetical laws: the interplay is often caustically cluttered and essentially introverted, although not completely deprived of elements of direct communication with the audience. The dynamic pendulum oscillates between elementary patterns as the basis of magnetic mutability (“Jogging Along The Path Of El ‘Gabar”) and moments of arrhythmic emancipation, frequently scented with harmolodic essences (“Young Men Share Excitement In Far Deep Tchoukotka” and, especially, “Mesa Verde’s Alien Sunset”). Do not think that there’s no room for calmer types of investigation: “In Which Jack’s Cruise Is Ended” walks slowly, gradually, until the mounting tension produces an untidy heap of jarring intervals corroborated by soul-plaguing threats in deceivingly clumsy mechanisms.

It takes a while to realize that the initial perplexity elicited by the performers’ choices is in reality the reaction to a type of acoustic fractal geometry which needs to be taken as it is, in a warts-and-all kind of aural decontamination. No actual “beauty” to contemplate, no easy paths or tactful approaches. The instruments are played without surplus of fine-tuning — the quality of the respective timbres is, so to speak, brilliantly grubby — thus allowing the collective interaction to keep an uncomfortable edge perceptible throughout. This notwithstanding, the overall result is comparable to a short, solid fighter who — not endowed with huge technical and physical advantages — prefers a steady assault to the opponent’s body instead of an ineffective use of the jab. A distinct sense of compactness ultimately emerges from the energized discharges to warrant an affirmative verdict.


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