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CD Review: Quiet in the Head

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Quiet in the Head Quiet in the Head

(2015, Independent)

Hailing from Hudson, Quiet in the Head might seem anything but. Risk-taking, expressive improvisation is the forte of this classical acoustic trio, which consists of Jonathan Talbott on violin, Seamus Maynard on guitar, and Jonah Thomas on cello. Occasionally, guest musicians step in, drummer Otto Hauser and bassist Terence Murren among them. Exploring a multitude of world music textures, their ultimately uncategorizable originals slap the face of timid music, and might be offputting to more mainstream, cautious listeners who can't appreciate klezmer right next to gypsy, Middle Eastern next to tango, or Eastern European next to jazz. Yet these polished performers know exactly what they are doing, and they play with a "whether you like it or not" attitude.

The result is music that is as structured as it is strange. The album starter, "Revenge of the Swamp Donkey," reveals the group's agenda (as well as the donkey's) with wickedly foreboding musicianship. At eight-and-a-half minutes, this piece is a prime example of QITH's ability to switch things up with constantly morphing melody, tempo, energy, and dynamics. The 10 additional tunes follow along the same vein of diversity in an exciting and unique display of savvy craft. It will be interesting to observe how their music continues to evolve in the future, so keep an ear out for upcoming local shows and recordings, and be brave enough to dive into this intrepid trio. Quietinthehead.com.

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