Root 70: Heaps Dub

Heaps Dub can be dauntingly characterized as a ten-track ‘reconstruction of reconstruction,' or more simply as the sound of acoustic jazz outfit Root 70 (Nils Wogram, Jochen Rueckert, Matt Penman and Hayden Chisholm) doing live versions of Nonplace material by Burnt Friedman & The Nu Dub Players and Flanger (Friedman and Atom Heart). Though Friedman's original tracks were digitally sculpted, the degree to which they approximate organic group performances free of technological manipulation reveals deft sleight-of-hand. In this Baudrillardian hall-of-mirrors, Root 70's live treatment makes the catalogue sound even more natural, with the Cologne-based group confidently navigating scenic routes through dub, traditional jazz, and Latin jazz in Chisholm's rich trombone, saxophone, clarinet, drums, and double bass arrangements.

Given Chisholm's live and recording tenure with Friedman, it doesn't surprise that accomplished dub tunes like “Life Is Worth” equal Friedman's originals in quality and spirit. Root 70's attention to detail is evident throughout—the sinuous clarinet lines of “Destination Unknown” and the lush trombone-bass clarinet weave in “Escape The Night” representative examples. Breaking the instrumental flow, “Revivitator” drops a noirish spoken word setting into the album's middle while “Nightbeat” closes the set in similarly ponderous fashion. Ever the provocateur, Friedman didn't leave the material wholly untouched but configured each track to a five-minute length in the final mix—not that any of it sounds any less organic for being so. If anything, the strength of his compositions comes forth all the more strongly in Root 70's wholly simpatico renderings.

October 2006