12 O'Clock Track: Chicago Underground Duo, "Moon Debris" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Chicago Underground Duo, "Moon Debris"


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Next month Chicago cornetist Rob Mazurek debuts two new related projects. On March 21 his trio Throne of the House of Good and Evil, with drummer John Herndon and bassist Matthew Lux, plays at the Hideout, and a few days later his Pulsar Quartet—the same lineup plus superb New York pianist Angelica Sanchez—debuts with a four-night residency at the Whistler. But one of Mazurek's most durable units has also been busy: in two weeks the Chicago Underground Duo, his project with percussionist Chad Taylor, releases Age of Energy (Northern Spy), its first new album since 2010's Boca Negra.

Despite the fact that the duo's sound has evolved consistently across its six albums, this new one is something of a shocker. The electronics that have long been present take center stage for much of the record, both in the form of bass ostinatos (as on today's 12 O'Clock Track, "Moon Debris," which is a nonalbum cut derived from an album cut) and as thick foreground ambience and texture—in fact, I couldn't hear Mazurek's cornet until halfway through the 20-minute opener. The new album arrives in all formats March 13.