Tashi Dorji / Ian McColm / Frank Meadows – The Power of Water

Uncompromising, raw and beyond otherworldly, The Power of Water is without a doubt one of the most essential free improv records of 2021.

Tashi Dorji (of Kuzu), Ian McColm (of Heart of The Ghost) and Frank Meadows (of The Library of Babel), are each veterans of the DIY avant-garde and free jazz worlds, but this album marks the first time the trio collaborated on tape. Based on the strength of this wild performance, the meeting of these astoundingly creative minds was severely overdue.

Throughout the record, the group creates highly-textured seas of tense and feral sound, often bordering on the atonal. Dorji plucks odd and twangy notes on guitar while Meadows creates menacing guttural drones on his double bass while McColm attacks a wide assortment of percussion instruments and objects with a rabid fierceness.

The bevy that the trio concocts is at times startling, like the creaky clatter that is “Late to Put a Flower Down,” which combines metallic whinnying with bowed-bass work that rumbles from a deep growl into a high-pitched screech.The entire track is so eerie, it sounds like something from a Robert Eggers soundtrack.

Then at other times, like with the closing track,”We Are Dancing,” the group reaches a place of near spiritual contentment. The percussion shimmers and rattles with an unusual harmony while the guitar trickles out a hypnotic mantra of rustic notes, as the bass hums softly in the background. In the unruly and aggressive world of The Power of Water, this is a true moment of serenity.

You can get this album on cassette now, as part of Trouble in Mind Records’ infamous Explorers series. Click here to get your copy today. To check out the other albums in TIM’s Explorers that just dropped, click here.


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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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