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Equilibrium

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (38 ratings)

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Equilibrium album cover
01
Equlibrium
3:44
$0.49
02
Vamp To Vibe
5:20
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03
Nebula Theory
5:25
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04
Cohesion
6:36
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05
World Of Blue Glass
5:26
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06
Portal
1:13
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07
The Root
5:04
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08
The Key
4:12
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09
Nu Matrix
4:01
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Album Information

Total Tracks: 9   Total Length: 41:01

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nice equilibrium indeed

bklynd

I think the title of this album refers to the alternation between fun modal vamps with a laptop-enhanced groove and a few more "difficult" slow tracks. Shipp certainly has plenty of taste and intelligence no matter what he does. This is one of the most thoroughly satisfying contemporary jazz albums I've found in a long time.

eMusic Features

1

New This Week: School of Seven Bells, Trust & More

By J. Edward Keyes, Editor-in-Chief

Man. There are just so many new records today. Also, I think about halfway through this, I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. Trust, TRST: Behind the year's worst album cover is one of the year's best records. Super goth, in all the right ways. Where my Apoptygma Berzerk fans at? Home crying? Cool. See you there. This one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Barry Walters goes: Trust is danceable even if you're not stuck in a K-hole. Its tempos vary… more »

They Say All Music Guide

Here is yet another chapter in Thirsty Ear’s provocative and consistently excellent Blue Series. Equilibrium is a more complex extension of Shipp’s last album for the label, the stunning Nu Bop. Here, employing the talents of bassist William Parker, drummer Gerald Cleaver, vibraphonist Khan Jamal, and electronics and programming whiz FLAM, Shipp moves to extend the reach of all of his previous musical excursions by putting them all to work on a single recording. And before anyone jumps to think “mess,” don’t. You’d be wrong. There are nine cuts, beginning with the stellar, pointillistic title track. The ensemble creates a series of contrapuntal exercises based around an engaged series of encounters between Shipp and Jamal. Shipp’s ringing right hand strikes angular phrases, yet refrains from using force. Because of the textural element present in Jamal’s ornate yet dynamically restrained playing, the two instruments create a weave that is knotted by the rhythm section. “Vamp to Vibe” is just that, though it’s created around a series of off-minor themes, Cleaver’s drums propelling the movement of the entire piece as he double-times the band. Jamal takes the first solo, creating a staircase scalar attack from the middle of the minor progression and arcing it upward before descending into the hushed maelstrom at the middle of the track. “Nebula Theory” is virtually a chamber piece, colored extensively by Parker’s wondrous use of the bow on elongated lines. “World of Blue Glass” is among the most melodically sophisticated and aesthetically gorgeous pieces Shipp has ever composed. Whatever dissonance makes its way into the piece is there for the reason of having it extended harmonically into something far more rich and, dare it be said, beautiful. The hip-hoprisy that creates the rhythmic flow of “The Root” jumbles hip-hop and downtempo, elaborated on by Cleaver, whose painting of the insides of the beat is remarkable. Shipp offers chordal explorations on a marked set of changes and Jamal moves everything into overdrive as the turntables kick in. “The Key” is positively Monk-like in its rhythmic construction and Bill Evans-like in its mysteriously enchanting melodic line. And with Parker taking a bass break that’s pure, basic funky blues, it all comes together in a seamless whole. The disc closes with its most difficult and compelling piece, “Nu Matrix.” It feels as if it were written for the soundtrack of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Solaris via Webern’s earlier piano pieces. There are sounds adding dimension, there are no rhythms, there is only Shipp’s piano extrapolating on every minor seventh chord he plays. It would be a piano solo of some starkness, but the quark strangeness of the electronics makes it a meditation on schemata and closure. Shipp, whose restless vision is never clouded by grandiosity or pretense, has become the most important pianist on the scene today. Equilibrium is soul music for the mind. – Thom Jurek

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