Dead Neanderthals are a Dutch duo (René Aquarius on drums and Otto Kokke on saxophone) and are spearheading the Dutch Heavy Jazz movement (modern Jazz mixed with extreme forms music added into the mix). They have released a varied discography including studio, live and collaboration albums since 2010. This is their next album and features Maxime Petit on bass.
The deep, gouging tones of a distorted bass tear into the silence and a single constant electronic tone sparkles in the Cyclopean depths therein created. A slowly alternating saxophone draws out against the electronic tone cutting through the coruscating dirge of the bass. The low tuneless frequency thrums and snaps with saw-blade menace, howling screams of self-inflicted feedback and corroded rumblings. The scouring bass ravaging through the entire piece seems to refuse to let anything else form or overtake it and this ultimately defines the atmosphere and environment – the intended mind-visual being of the individual experiencing the raw surroundings of a crater on a far-flung celestial body where the sun’s rays barely illuminate the surroundings. There is very little change in what takes place in the first five minutes throughout the rest of the remaining thirty or so minutes of this one track offering – although it is not about enduring the atonality and the constant, unchanging path of the music but rather the effect it has on the perception of the listener in the transfiguration of the senses and what that does to the listener. A simple concept but delivered with artistic deliberateness as well as savage intensity which would be absent if there was a repeated melody.
Listening to their earlier work for context, Dead Neanderthals have broken away from the iconic Jazz scenario of saxophone and drums duels (John Coltrane and Rashid Ali having first perfected the pairing on the 1967 album Interstellar Space) and so this album represents a complete change in direction to the point where René Aquarius and Otto Kokke barely seem to have performed on this album. Viewed from the perspective of creating something else for themselves they have cleared away the structure on releases previous so totally that the duo are free to experiment in any way they choose. For those who are interested in Noise, Experimental music and that which lies at the periphery Dead Neanderthals meet the criteria for a surreal experience free of the confines which melody creates. Those who are already devotees of the duo may receive a shock but should take this as a ‘palette cleanser’ for what is to progress from it. This is an album that, while it fails to develop, rewards the listener who is prepared for an intense and protracted assault.
Since 2010, Dead Neanderthals have been spearheading the Dutch Heavy Jazz movement releasing a multitude of albums and EPs and collaborations. With this new release they are looking to change their direction.