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Infection and Decline

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Album Review

This is the tenth album by the always evolving Flying Luttenbachers, and the first by the "brutal prog" lineup, which consists of electric bassists Alex Perkolup and Jonathan Hischke along with drummer/leader/mainstay Weasel Walter. This is a big change from the Luttenbachers' two previous efforts, the acoustic free jazz throw-downs Alptraum and Trauma, which were mainly improvised. In contrast, Infection and Decline is entirely composed, and the material is incredibly dense and detailed. It is clear that the band is pushing themselves here, as they work to sustain peaks of intensity, complexity, and tension from the first notes to the last. The CD is also clearly meant to challenge the listener, and it does take a few listens to get one's bearings, but the material does add up — these are well-written songs that just sound chaotic the first go around because there is so much happening with them. Highlights include the discordant, robotic title track (the longest of the four Walter originals at ten minutes) and Perkolup's "Elfmeros," a jaw-dropping approximation of the meeting point between extreme death metal and Magma/Ruins-esque prog darkness. The album closes with a 16-minute run through Magma's epic "De Futura," which in this version is noisier and more stressed out (as well as less funky) than the original. It's a fitting end to another exhausting Flying Luttenbachers album and, from a compositional standpoint at least, possibly their strongest.


Formed: 1990

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A product of the fertile music scene centered around Chicago's Wicker Park area, the free jazz ensemble the Flying Luttenbachers was formed in 1990 by multi-instrumentalist Weasel Walter, a veteran of area punk bands whose love of the music of avant-saxophonist Hal Russell inspired him to form a jazz group of his own. Walter soon teamed with bassist Bill Pisarri and others to found the Sound Improvisation Collective, who on a flyer for their March 8, 1991, debut performance described themselves as...
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