Submental by 180º

180º | Submental
Splitrec (CD/DL)

The Australian trio 180º has released Submental its debut album on the Splinter Orchestra’s label. Vocals and horns and tinny percussion all blend well in the contorted concrete music that is Equilateral. Along the way it twitches, slides and sizzles with obtuse noises. It’s a collaged form of minimal modern jazz with a twist (a whisper, and a bang). Secretive pockets turn to discordant strumming on Oblique, a mumbling voice, crestfallen breathes its final air as a textured scratching of the surface is under way.

What could be a pack of riled-up apes is likely the fusion between guitar and flute as the track unravels. Many of the tracks here seem named after various geometric variations on the triangle, perhaps with each musician taking one of its points, stretched and tight, depending. Their approach is unformulated, and distinct in its eccentricities. Submental fidgets wildly at points, with squiggly refrains (if you can call it that), but along the way there is an uncertain call-and-response approach no matter how short or lengthy the particular track may be (running :37 to 14:57 here). There are moans and stretching sounds like balloons and mouths manipulated (Acute) with varying degrees of control. This makes for a very active listening experience.

If this were playing in a public space there would be a lot of heads turning. The flux is constant, but its not a jumble, more of a collected chaos, with brief melodic passages and plenty of metallic squeaking and other discombobulated effects tossed in to spike and drive the mix. These guys have a lot of breath, that’s for sure. And even the moments in repose are a bit disquieting. A liberating listen from beginning to end.

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