Come Morning is a bold sonic exploration
Wichita's Wrong Kata Trio has released its latest 12" vinyl, Come Morning, with its sights set on destroying the common practice of downloading MP3s or even purchasing a CD. With download cards included to lead the vinyl purchaser to a digital copy rendered in lossless 24 bit, there is no sound excuse to not pick up the record that will be available opening night of KNOBfest at their first performance since the release. But, does it sound good?
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio, this 150 gram slab sounds fantastic with rich, tight low-end, silky smooth highs and plenty of mid-range to explore. Recorded in Nashville and engineered by Don Chaffer and Russ Long, it's obvious everyone along the way took their job serious and gave their best through the whole process. Even the artwork is a fantastically sublime compliment to the trio's sometimes ethereal instrumental jaunts. But, are the songs good?
Obviously influenced by the likes of Tortoise, Squarepusher and others betwixt the punk/jazz movement, Wrong Kata Trio reference much more. Whether intended or not, there are nods to Meshuggah, Terry Riley, Steve Vai and Brian Eno. This record offers a lot to chew on. Not for Taylor Swift fans, Come Morning is bold in seeking vistas not many bands are comfortable taking an audience.
Drummer Brandon Graves is quick, tight and driving for much of the release but provides plenty of nuance and texture necessary in some of the more patient tunes. Bassist Anthony Case alternates between a fairly standard electric bass tone and confidently exploring synth sounds that are not at all unexpected in these sometimes heavily experimental compositions. Leaning on a heavy jazz influence, guitarist UJ Pesonen leads the band on journeys that may traverse Satie-esque intros ("How the Robots") all the way to warm distorted leads ("Here and Then") that conjure thoughts of a heavily curated guitar effects pedalboard designed to augment the way listeners approach old tonal standbys.
Some tracks on Come Morning seem a bit dry and overly contained. From repeated listens it appears most of these compositions were meant to be explored more in depth live. Assuming that's the case, committing unhindered sonic exploration may have been proven too difficult to experiment with when considering the constraints of a studio release.
Chances taken on Come Morning will delight listeners seeking a jazz-rock thrill ride that sometimes ends up in eerie darkened corners ("Outgrown") or the opposite sometimes lending a party space-funk ("DC Angels") vibe. Either way the packaging and mastering engineer alone is worth the $20 you'll spend on this piece of archival sonic history after seeing them this Thursday at the Fisch Haus kicking off KNOB 2014.