Electropolis
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Michael Ferrier, electrosax; Michael O'Brien, bass; Steve Roehm, percussives; Kelly Rossum, electrumpet
Release date : Feb. 07, 2006
Label : innova
Tracklist:
  1. Scorched
  2. The Slider
  3. Sailing the Flat Earth
  4. Recliner
  5. Naughty Maria
  6. Dagobah
  7. Blue Omni
  8. Ouch Not Again
  9. Lead Soldiers
  10. Bat Soup
  11. The Little Red Blinking Light

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“The fuzzy sounds of electro sax and electro-trumpet add an otherworldly feel to the music produced by this inventive band… This is an eclectic mix of sounds that seems vaguely familiar like a half forgotten dream. The sound is dark, dense and eerie.”

— Don Berryman, Jazz Police

 

Best Local CDs of 2005 – The Onion

“Here’s a band that gets it right the first time.”

— Christopher Bahn, The Onion

 

“I have nothing to gain by claiming that the guitarless, keyboardless jazz-funk quartet’s first album boasts quite a bit more animal magnetism than most of the highbrow nonprofit’s releases. But it does, as well as offering far more body heat than the band’s handle suggests.”

— Rod Smith, City Pages

 

“It’s moody, atmospheric stuff that knows when to strut and when to break ankles, the kind of thing that would be great as the soundtrack to … oh, I don’t know … a German expressionist silent movie. What? They already did that? Awesome.”

— Steve McPherson, The Pulse

 

“In a truly multi-media event, local improv artists Electropolis combined film, music, spoken word, and the live sound effects to create a one-of-a-kind screening of the silent film Metropolis that caused the stunned audience to spring to their feet with applause.”

— Andrea Myers, Howwastheshow

 

“A restlessly inventive, Minnesota-based post-rock jazz quartet in the spirit of Lounge Lizards and Medeski, Martin & Wood, Electropolis lives up to its name by powering up the effects pedals on pretty much everything but drums, including the usually unamplified saxophone and trumpet, and filtering its music through fields of eerie distortion. There’s a noirishly cinematic quality to the effect, with a buzzingly propulsive rhythm that’s full of constant surprises‹it seems perfectly appropriate that Electropolis has found great success in concert as a live soundtrack to the classic modernist sci-fi film Metropolis. Perhaps most impressively, more than half of the songs on Electropolis were spontaneously improvised, and the rest were done in a single take.”

— Christopher Bahn, The Onion (staff favorites)

 

“Full marks for ambition. The kind of thing that would be great as the soundtrack to … oh, I don’t know … a German expressionist silent movie. What? They already did that? Awesome.”

— staff, The Pulse

 

“The freshest instrumental jazz/rock album I’ve heard in 2006. Where is jazz going? Electropolis shows us one potential future. Sample it!”

— Sanjuro, i-Tunes customer review

 

“Three Words: Original, Avant Garde, Spontaneous. … Well organized chaos battles tight, rhythmic genius in this electro-jazz explosion”

— Brooke Aldridge, The Pulse

 

“It’s the bomb, chickadees. If jazz ran helter-skelter through the house of funky rock, Electropolis would be riding piggyback, grabbing a handful of hair. This album is a danceable, can’t-wrap-your-head-aroundable fusion of chaos and order.”

— Dan Wahl, Utne Reader

 

“Is it jazz? I don’t know how to categorize it, but Duke Ellington once said that there were only two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. This is good music. It contains elements of jazz, and punk, and other things with odd sounds and toe-tapping rhythms. This is not dinner music, it is music that demands your attention and rewards you when you give it.”

— Don Berryman, Jazz Police

 

“Full marks for ambition, guys. In the spirit of Bill Frisell’s work with the films of Buster Keaton, saxophonist Michael Ferrier’s Electropolis (with Michael O’Brien on bass, Steve Roehm on percussion and Kelly Rossum on trumpet) has already created spontaneous soundtracks for Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” and now they’ve released a slinky, spooky out-there disc so you can take their misshapen electronic/acoustic grooves home with you. A mix of improvised and pre-arranged compositions, Electroplis’ self-titled debut is in the vein of exploratory-yet-groovy fare like David Fiuczynski’s Screaming Headless Torsos, Medeski Martin and Wood’s classic Friday Afternoon in the Universe or the Twin Cities own Fantastic Merlins (featuring Ferrier’s wife, Jacqueline Ferrier-Ultan, on cello). Rather than relying on overdubs, Ferrier and Kelly Rossum simply plug in the normally acoustic saxophone and trumpet (respectively) to create the electrosax and electrumpet, and away they go into territory normally reserved for electric guitars and keyboards. “Dagobah” comes off like Yoda driving War’s low rider as a trumpet (I think) sweeps through a phase modulator and the sax bumps out spastic bursts through a digital delay. It’s moody, atmospheric stuff that knows when to strut and when to break ankles, the kind of thing that would be great as the soundtrack to … oh, I don’t know … a German expressionist silent movie. What? They already did that? Awesome.”

— The Pulse

 

“Electropolis gets high marks for its bracing, ready-for-prime-time mix of jazz, rock and funk”

— Tom Surowicz, Star Tribune

 

“Poised with a trombone, two whirly gigs, an electric guitar and a vibraphone, Electropolis waits for a murderer to descend on a small German town. Which leaves only three questions: 1. What’s a whirly gig? 2. Who’s Electropolis? 3. Where are the police? 1. A whirly gig is a long plastic tube from Toys ‘R Us, which produces noise when swung like a lasso above your head. 2. Electropolis is “four recovering jazz geeks who’ve all studied and taught music.” The band describes their sound as “Strings of music smashed together: jazz, rock, punk, funk, classical. You can’t call it one.” 3. They’re coming, but not until Act III. Maybe I should start over… In a simultaneous wave of image and sound, Electropolis kicked off last week’s Spark festival on a cramped stage in The Whole. Playing an array of bastardized instruments, from a replica 1700s horn to bright red and green plastic toys, the innovative quartet improvised a soundtrack for the 1919 horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, as it flickered onto two screens bordering the stage. Aside from a few landmarks, like scene changes, no one has a clue what they’ll play. Which means these guys have talent up the wazoo, or a psychic connection that allows them to (usually) mesh their mélange of instruments into an emotion that heightens the scene onscreen. When the setting is a fair, Electropolis’ combination of horns, drums and synthesizers, transports you back to your third grade field trip to Barnum and Bailey’s circus, until you can almost taste the hot dogs drenched in catsup and feel the hole in your pocket expand as you spend your allowance on a freak-show, which in the movie features Cesare the somnambulist (a man who has slept for 23 years, and we later find out has been forced to murder several townsmen.) Between acts two and three of the film, Electropolis’ mohawked front man bends into the Thinker pose. Touching his nose like a third-base coach signaling a player to steal second, he rises, and the band began to play in sync with each other. Three acts later, the audience has gleamed a rollercoaster of emotions, from fear to joy and a few loops in between, during the silent film. Even if they can’t tell apart the three main characters or hear a word of dialogue.”

— Kristen Mueller, Wake Magazine

 

“In this context, fusion means the process of atomic nuclei coming together to release unfathomable energy. . a sort of experimental rock that transforms itself, jazzlike, in each performance. It’s the bomb, chickadees.”

– Dan Wahl, Utne Reader

 

“With a heady mix of jazz, funk, and rock reminiscent of “Bitches Brew”-era Miles Davis, hometown marauders Electropolis did a terrific job last year of providing a fresh soundtrack for Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” They’re at it again… the fierce fusion foursome’s driving, sinister, full-length debut on innova Records. The self-titled CD opens with a track called “Scorcher,” and the burning and brooding doesn’t stop for 45 fine, transporting minutes.”

— Tom Surowicz, Star Tribune

 

“A quartet of bass, percussion, electrosax and electrumpet, Electropolis produces eleven tracks of interesting jazzy rock on what I believe is their debut. The amplified instruments produce some odd effects; on first hearing I was sure they had a guitarist. Fuzz, distortion, phased-type noises, and other modifications on typical jazz timbres are to be heard. There are no overdubs on this recording, however. What’s more impressive is that five of the eleven tracks are improvised, a challenge not only for the usual reasons of mutual listening and playing off each other, but because there are more and varied tones that can be used as well. There are some reminders of 70s Miles Davis here, both in the often ambient/soundscapeish nature of the compositions, and of course the trumpet sound which often approximates Miles’ sound of the period. Groovy, nimble, and succinct, Electropolis produces a fresh brand of jazz that is worthy of Innova but still approachable and direct. Fun stuff.”

— Sean McFee, Expose