Review: Anteloper – Kudu (International Anthem, Apr 20)

On Kudu, experienced improvisers Jaimie Branch and Jason Nazary embrace the use of synthesizers to shatter the limitations of their simple lineup of trumpet and drums – though it must be said that even without the electronics, the duo’s fluid chemistry seems to already accomplish that task. Kudu flawlessly alternates between free-form textural explorations and invigorating jams, the seamless transitions helped along by Nazary’s gentle injection and withdrawal of concrete rhythm. The synths and spacious treatment of Branch’s trumpet playing give the album a cosmic, psychedelic atmosphere, a perfect background for these meditative improvisations that never lose their sense of direction. While I’d very much like to see Anteloper further explore the more abstract elements found on Kudu – as of now, I’d say that the beginning of opening track “Oryx” and the droney ambiance of “Seclusion Self” were by far my favorite parts of the record – there’s no denying the power of the wide range harnessed by these two skilled musicians.

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