blink. — The Architects (cassette + download)
Cassette includes hi-res digital download.blink. - Protect From Light (I) by Whistler Records blink. - The Secret Life of Quiz Shows by Whistler Records
blink. is a Chicago-based musical collective steeped in jazz, rock, electronica, and free improvisation featuring bassist Jeff Greene, drummer Quin Kirchner, guitarist Dave Miller, and saxophonist Greg Ward. Individually, their compositions have been commissioned and performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Peoria Ballet Company, and have received awards from the Illinois Arts Council. Their debut, The Epidemic of Ideas (2008), emphasized improvisation and was the result of countless hours of rehearsals, performances, and studio time. Their sophomore album, The Architects, comes from a different place. As the album title suggests, it’s an intricately constructed statement and the product of extensive composing and rehearsing. It features a narrative arc punctuated by numerous recurring themes which include melodies and chord progressions that unfold over the course of the album. Longtime fans of blink. will be pleased to discover that Jeff Greene’s new compositions still leave room for –and are balanced by – the group’s supreme improvisational skills.
Highlights include: “Protect from Light”, parts I and II, which bookend the album and feature looped electronic samples and a reprise of the central melodic theme. “Align Your Planets” is an energetic (and, at times, unhinged) song that features the guitar and saxophone playfully exchanging riffs, only to be reeled in by the rhythm section before building into a noisy, no wave-y climax. “How to Rest in Peace” follows and closes out the first side. It is a dreamy piece of ambient-jazz with sparse vocals that hint at what’s to come. Side B opens with “The Secret Life of Quiz Shows”, a song that features an ethereal choir of voices and stands out as a decidedly non-“jazz” track – in fact, it could easily be at home on a Greg Davis or Stars of the Lid album. “I Will Save the Day (II)” briefly returns to no wave territory before coming full circle when its looping bass line reappears deep in the mix. The Architects is an adventurous album that, like it’s predecessor, features a band with no shortage of ideas.