Compositions like the enigmatic “Time Is A Sphere,” with its marriage of modern jazz and math-rock, are enticing stuff but, ultimately, Counterweight’s new, self-titled record, out today on Wide Hive, is full of more gratuity than sound structure. And that leaves it wanting.
On tracks like “Ellipsis” or, even moreso, the opener “Hum,” the band, in fact, seems like an afterthought all together – everything serves merely as a jumping-off point for trumpeter Erik Jekabson and saxophonist Kasey Knudsen to endlessly solo. Other tracks are interesting or cyclical but feel incomplete.
There’s good stuff here – the moody “Solacing” is like a drunken midnight; passages of “Extremis,” on the other hand, are deliciously manic – but so much of the record is too much wallpaper, too much of the time.
For those taking notes, the Throttle Elevator Music personnel is largely reunited here with a new rhythm section, which appeared on Larry Coryell’s Heavy Feel LP. With this kind of lineage, there are lofty expectations. The record is far from a failure. But it also don’t soar. – Justin Vellucci, Swordfish, March 16, 2018