Cordyceps (New Atlantis cassette and download NA-CAS-003) is the third recording of Psychotic Quartet. The group comprises trombonist Dan Blacksberg, violinist Katt Hernandez, bassist Evan Lipson, and percussionist Michael Evans. These are four musicians who bring a complexly spontaneous improv/new music perspective to playing "free".
All four play in different contexts outside of this quartet, but for this band engage in a kind of compositionally inspired outness, spontaneous composition, if you will have that phrase.
Throughout the course of the four segment performance they engage in a sort of four-way structure-building endeavor, almost as if four architects showed up at a site with various materials and, without any set plans, spontaneously set about putting up a building.
Needless to say in such an exercise there may be some moments where the windows are in question, or the roof may need rethinking, and so it is with Cordyceps. Not every moment is a gem of inspiration. Since it is never a question of living inside this structure those moments do not matter.
The sound of the band is distinct. Katt's violin work is acidic, etching lines with a pointedness that goes well with the burnished expressive blur of Blacksberg's trombone. Lipson and Evans get adventursome sound results that compliment the "front line".
After a number of listens, one begins to feel this outness as familiar, friendly, whimsical but also aggressive. And that is what I was left with. They map out their own world on this album, and the world is one it turns out you can live in happily, if you make the effort. If there's a bit of sharpness now and again, it's better than being flat. And in the context it all comes together with conviction and style.