2 by Lifted
PAN welcomes back the Lifted ensemble for a second cross-continental adventure off the grid, simply titled 2. Lifted’s latest release expands on the expression of improvised fusion that brought about the spectrum of styles explored on their 2015 debut album for PAN (PAN 061LP). Expansion is a key theme to 2, primarily in the musicians involved; Lifted is now a core group of Future Times boss Max D, Matt Papich aka Co La, Jeremy Hyman, and Motion Graphics. Expansion also relates to musical ideas Lifted explore and the studio techniques executed. Whereas the way they approached the idea of improvisation on 1 was framed in jazz terms, the seven-tracks on this second LP step even further into the vivid unknown. Zero boundaries for the exploratory impulse. As with the debut Lifted LP, listening to 2 is an open invitation to experience the worldwide creative framework surrounding these artists. The collaborators for each track, whether present in the studio or online, show what a fluid and freeform exercise Lifted can be. Max D’s international crew of Future Timers play deft roles throughout 2. Jordan GCZ and Dawit Eklund both return alongside 1432 r’s Sami, NYC’s Will DiMaggio, and Sao Paulo’s Repetentes 2008. UK underground artists Beatrice Dillon and Bass Clef make telling contributions which mark the latest in a long line of celebrated creative collaborations for the pair. Further input comes via Aya, vocalist and bassist for Japanese experimentalists OOIOO, and Martin Kasey, a friend of Papich with a background in Baltimore theater, summoned to provide some striking saxophone blasts. It all manifests in a sort of inverse process full of blind takes with the results more bruised than polished. These seven tracks adroitly weave through mood and vibe, demanding heads lock in with an initial blast of whip sharp percussive hits and contemporary no-wave blowouts before letting off steam with soothing ambient synthesis. “Blackpepper” acts as the album centerpiece to an unhinged mangle of SH101 basslines, freeform flute, and saxophone, and multiple percussive sources. “Rose 31” edges closest to the kind of jazz fusion that inspired the project from the off, Lifted utilizing the various classic instruments deployed by the greats of the game. “Near Future” smartly foregrounds Motion Graphics’ stunning piano talents, gradually stripping away all other elements until all that is left are his swirling notes. Photography by Traianos Pakioufakis. Artwork by Johannes Schnatmann and Bill Kouligas. Mastered by Rashad Becker.