"Live at the Knitting Factory" shows that the New York-based quintet has turned to recognizable pop styles for inspiration. Blending free improvisation with funk, it attains an enviable equilibrium.
The guitarist Chris Cochrane is smitten with back beats. On "Ms. Quoted" he reclaims an old rap by the Clash and connects it with a rhythm-and-blues phrase from Soul II Soul. The groove momentarily smoothens No Safety's rhythmic turbulence, as does the relatively conventional blues riff that drives "Eight Year Old With an Uzi."
Even the craggy instrumentals by the harpist Zeena Parkins have been polished. Fragments are grouped together, ultimately creating continuity. In under three minutes, "F Is for Fake" moves through five passages; primal thuds, kaleidoscopic sounds and laughing voices stand shoulder to shoulder.
The ominous tone that drifts through the 17 works isn't unusual for No Safety; the group has long been fascinated by the way modern dilemmas -- from sexism to urban deterioration -- are addressed in society. In the past, Mr. Cochrane has sung of how AIDS is robbing the world, and his ardor can be daunting. "I'm disappearing/ Hold me, hold me," he pleads in "Lonely," as a cloudy guitar squall lays a shroud over Tim Spelios's crackling snare drum.
released July 23, 2021
Ann Rupel - bass, vocals
Chris Cochrane - guitar, tape, tambourine, vocals
Zeena Parkins - harp, sampler, eggs, vocals
Doug Seidel - guitar
Tim Spelios - traps
Produce by No Safety and John Siket
Recorded live at the Knitting Factory July 5, 12, 13, 1993
Original recordings remastered by Kato Hideki, 2021
supported by 31 fans who also own “Live At The Knitting Factory”
It's not only great jazz you get from MoonJune, of course. The stable is rich with talent from the forefront of progressive music.
This sampler gives two and a half hours of those riches to tempt you into investigating talent you may not have been aware of before.
Listen. Enjoy. Peter Jones