Don’t let the name fool you. This is not a finger-snapping foray into the land of wacky tobaccy and beatnik berets. However, the work of Canadian royalty Mathew Jonson, Tyger Ohula, and Danuel Tate (pooled together under the ambiguous name of Cobblestone Jazz) could arguably be described as a reimagining of classic jazz for the chemical generation. That is to say, Mathew creates the basslines, Danuel sits behind a Rhodes and vocoder, and Tyger fills in percussion and atmosphere, and they pull it off live without sequencing. For all intents and purposes, 23 Seconds is a work of minimal techno, in line with the Mutek likes of Ernesto Ferreyra and Crackhaus. But, since their tracks are almost exclusively built out of collaborative improvisation, the spirit of the album lands closer to authentic jazz than the über quantized, mouse clicking slap-and-dash that fills most late night clubs. Damn, if this isn’t way more listenable than the Four Tet and Steve Reid sessions, and the majority of fusion projects there about. Of course, those used to traditional arrangements will have no use for this. If you didn’t know the story behind their creative process, you would not guess it in all likelihood. Even the 40 minutes of on stage play live from Mondo leaves no obvious clues. That makes 23 Seconds about the most intelligent techno album in recent memory, perhaps too smart for its own good.
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