Review: Jon Lipscomb Quartet – Fodder

The opening track on Fodder, released in January this year, sounds like a Friday night in the city … It is alive and crazed, moving in pursuit of a hot moment at a small bar or dancefloor. Though somewhat odd as “fodder” can mean “food,” I listen to this track and feel the energy of a crowd vibrating. I feel like the “space” absorbing the people and sound “Death to Kek” allows me to envision, is dimly lit, as splashes of neon light wash over the room. It feels impulsive and free, like someone young looking for excitement. This track accurately sets the tone of Jon Lipscomb’s album.

“Feed Bag” is also untamed, however, I feel certain moments take more inspiration from a classical approach to jazz. This is evident after the track hits a minute and the tenor saxophone becomes predominantly audible. When Lipscomb’s guitar breaks this path around 2:30, we feel the tone become heavier and more electric. It hits the listener’s chest and makes us more aware of our senses… I found this evident in the way Fodder splatters color all throughout the album. Each track is vibrant and brings my mind to rich pigments of color smeared, spattered, and thrown against a dark canvas. Closing my eyes and listening, I saw the colors of changing lights at a club; the kind that move with the pace of sound. I enjoyed where this took me.

“Batterie” is my favorite track on the album. Dave Treut keeps a steady pace on the drums as Lipscomb’s fingers quickly move up and down strings. This follows a similar motion Sam Weinberg creates on the tenor saxophone. Certain moments become quiet and all we hear is the pulsing of Nick Jozwiak’s bass moving with the energy of the high hats trembling. As the track comes to an end we do not feel like it ends suddenly or leaves us hanging. The final notes are strong, but there is a pulse throughout the song that continues moving.

“Feed Bag 2” sounds electronic. It follows the second track’s manic energy, but introduces a new feeling of sound scratching. I feel rage building as guitar strings sound like they are being pulled apart. Midway through the song, we almost hear all noise collapse, however, Lipscomb slowly builds anticipation after breaking a moment of chaos. He does this again as the track gains speed and volume around nine minutes.

The final track, “Many Combs,” allows the album to rest. Sound is faint for the first three minutes. This contrasts Lipscomb’s previous tracks. As we reach five minutes, we lose control again and hear a crashing of noise. The guitar, tenor sax, bass, and drums collide for almost a full minute. This is followed by another moment of near stillness until the track ends. “Many Combs” reminds me of trying to recover sporadic breathing after an instance of panic. We are at ease until each instrument erupts at once, then we are left to regain a sense of order we may not have ever had. This seems an appropriate end to Lipscomb’s album. We feel the high and low points of energy throughout Fodder, until it breaks and we feel its climax.

The record is available for purchase on Bandcamp.

Personnel

  • Jon Lipscomb – guitar, compositions
  • Nick Jozwiak – bass
  • Sam Weinberg – tenor saxophone
  • Dave Treut – drums

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