Little Women - Lung (4 stars)

Somewhere between free jazz, avant-classical and downtown art-rock

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Little Women - Lung

(Aum Fidelity)

Like their more fidgety Brooklyn associates Zs, Little Women operate somewhere between free jazz, avant-classical and downtown art-rock. Lung is conceptualised around the human breath, treating it as a sound source and organising element. The results are both inventive and moving, striking a remarkably fluid balance between structure and free improvisation.

The first two minutes are almost silent, with the ear gradually adjusting to pick up the soft tone of saxophonists Darius Jones and Travis Laplante breathing through their horns. Out of this emerges some alchemical horn interplay, with Jones and Laplante shaping modal fragments and extended techniques into a pensive patchwork melody. This gives way to the unison singing of a single note, which is pierced by an abrupt horn wail. Later, the ringing chords and no-wave spasms of guitarist Andrew Smiley herald some wilder passages, which are governed by the taut push and pull of Jason Nazary's drums.

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