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Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love have played together for more than decade. They first played a sensational two nights at Cafe OTO in 2010 that broached heavy rhythmic intensity with pure sound, Vandermark's unique grasp of melodic possibility and bursts of noise. Lean Left is their group together with Andy Moor and Terrie Hessells - guitarists from the ever-vital Dutch experimental punk outfit The Ex. It's a pleasure to have them back at OTO for a one-off concert after consistently barnstorming nights of incredible music here in the past.
"Lean Left are a lethal combination of radical commitment, sonic intensity and breathtaking fluency from four musicians who, between them, have rarely strayed from the outermost borders of jazz and punk... The density, clarity and balance maintained throughout the two sets was a breathtaking reminder that this stormy, industrial territory is where many of the most pressing questions are asked of the structure and content of jazz today." Geoff Winston, LondonJazz
Active for more than 30 years, The Ex has developed into a melting-pot of diverse musical styles, in part characterised by the highly rhythmic, discordant guitar interplay of Andy Moor and Terrie Hessells whilst weaving noise, rock, jazz, improvisation, and ethnic musics under one unique umbrella: "Ex-music".
They've also been open to all manner of collaborations with musicians from around the world who share their spirit and independent approach. Lean Left is a powerful example of that: an energetic outburst that teeters on the brink of chaos yet remains nimble and open to melody, rhythm and noise.
"The music all falls apart marvellously, as the guitarists drag the sound into their spring-loaded workshop, with all manner of metallic mischief: buzzing obsessive strums, 1950s Acme rocket science, No Wave, and Company week on Saturn. Speaking of which, when the music cools down at length, Vandermark has a laugh and plays “Sun Ra and his band from outer space have entertained you here” for a few measures. It’s a joyous set, filled with great contrast and depth of sound as the reedist and drummer follow their nose only to have the Ex stink up the joint with marvelous mischief." Jason Bivins, Dusted Magazine