Art Ensemble of Chicago - Folkus

Here's a proper cacophony for you.

Few jazz bands ever pushed the limits the way the Art Ensemble of Chicago did. Sure, there were plenty who went further in the direction of skronk. But none had the compositional range the AAoC did, the breadth of styles and moods. Folkus is a fine example of this. Taken from their 1978 album Nice Guys, it visits three very different points of the musical triangle. Starting with dissonant rasping, it moves through sparse celestial meanderings, and finally into African drums. And so you know that this is serious soundplay, you get some pretty impressive silences thrown in there too.

So what is it with that combination? It doesn't seem coherent at all, even after repeated listens. But it is pretty damn tight, and certainly doesn't seem anything like its 11 minute runtime. It is focussed, but I'm still having a devil of a time working out why.

Art Ensemble of Chicago - Folkus
(alternate download)