The Chicago Underground Duo consist of Rob Mazurek and Chad Taylor. Mazurek mans the trumpet, cornet, Reaktor, Powerbook, and Protools while Taylor unleases waves of free jazz drumming, always layering thick, sprawling rhythyms and holding the ability to play on vibraphones simultaneously. This is the seventh release by the Chicago Underground moniker, and third for the duo.

Axis and Alignment find the duo taking the experimentations of their last record, Synesthesia--which consisted of long, heavily electronically altered soundscapes with choatic moments of jazz destruction--and creating melodic pieces that rarely last more than three minutes. This creates an atmosphere less oppressive, and more... well, free.

There are moments where the nuttiness comes into full fruition. Particle hooks Chad Taylor's drums into a loop of distorted, reverb effects while Mazurek's (he's fit to get his party on) cornet catches a whimsy sixteen million miles long and back and forth to other eternities. As the chaos ensues, the reverb gets turned up until there is this amazing wall of sound effect created by the drumming, that pushes air from subwoofers and is reminscent of Tortoise's Standards.

Average Assumptions is a piece of intriguing abstraction, where piano meets vibraphone tangling in a land of Herbie Hancock. The song reminds me of a line from Mercury Rev, And I was caught in a fleeting thought, stuck in the back of Leonard Cohen's mind.

As the Thrill Jockey website professes, "Dig the new tone science!"

  1. Microexit
  2. Lifelines
  3. Particle & Transfiguration
  4. Exponent Red
  5. Average Assumptions
  6. Lem
  7. Two Concepts For The...
  8. Memoirs of a Space Traveler
  9. Rotation
  10. Access & Enlightenment
  11. Noon

Other albums of interest:
Chicago Underground Quartet - s/t
Isotope 217 - Who Stole the I Walkman?
Robert Mazurek - Playground (w/ Chicago Underground Orchestra)
Tortoise - TNT

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