Alibi V.17 No.19 • May 8-14, 2008 

Sonic Reducer

Alexis Cuadrado Puzzles (Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records)

One of three excellent inaugural releases on this label, bassist Alexis Cuadrado’s Puzzles offers jazz that is ever light on its feet, no matter how intricate the step or how heavy the vibe. From the pop-inflected “Bright Light” to the introspective suite “Quintessential,” Cuadrado’s original compositions demonstrate a sensitivity that never devolves into sentimentalism, and a superior rhythmic sense. Featuring Loren Stillman (sax), Brad Shepik (guitar) and Mark Ferber (drums), with guest appearances by Alan Ferber (trombone) and Pete Rende (organ). Also check out Anne Mette Iverson’s Best of the West + Many Places and Bernard-Emer-Lackner-Ferber’s Night for Day. (MM)

mr. Gnome Deliver This Creature (El Marko)

Masculine and feminine, soft whispers and shrill yelps, punishing guitars and salving lullabies: How can all of these things be happening at once? This question lies at the heart of mr. Gnome's enigmatic essence. Pairing guitarist and lead singer Nicole Barille with drummer Sam Meister summons the image of an epic clash between two warring tribes, simultaneously fighting their own internal struggles. Barille delivers methodical, feisty guitar work and mollifying vocals while Meister attacks the drums like a 7-year-old on a sugar binge. Then Barille lets out a terrifying screech that leaves Meister in total silence. Bold and unrelenting, Deliver This Creature is an earful of beautiful contradiction. (SM)

No Age Nouns (Sub Pop)

Stunning—the packaging for this album is just stunning. The simple color scheme of black, white and peach is a great accent for the refined imagery. Inside, an attached booklet is a catalog of interesting photographs interspersed with a ROY G BIV of blank pages. Especially nice is the photo of the guy standing before a painting of a bearded sea captain smoking a pipe. Wait, what's that? You want to know about the music? Comme ci comme ça, mon frère—a subtle no wave-ish discordant noise affair of sorts. Now, back to the album art ... (JCC)

(MM) Mel Minter, (SM) Simon McCormack, (JCC) Jessica Cassyle Carr