Best of 2019 #61: Matt Mitchell – “Phalanx Ambassadors”


A strong gust of wind blows through and sweeps up everything in its path.  It whips about in all directions, seeming without purpose or causation, and a random assortment of objects caught in its grasp.  But eventually the motion transmits information, revealing something similar to coordination, a choreography of chaos.  And, suddenly, the random objects are viewed with the perspective of a singular entity, moving with a purposeful motion, and toward some unseen end.  The Matt Mitchell 2019 release Phalanx Ambassadors is the embodiment of this phenomenon.  The change in perspective occurs slowly, but powerfully, as many moving parts gradually coalesce into a unified entity.  And, with repeat listening, it becomes increasingly apparent that the unison was there from the very first note.  This music has jagged edges and whiplash movements and isn’t shy about annihilating a melody if that’s what the moment calls for.  But, ultimately, the signifying characteristic of this compelling album isn’t fury or destruction or entropy, but grace.  The motion of this music is that of walking through life, and all of the chaos that experience brings.

Your album personnel:  Matt Mitchell (piano, Mellotron, Prophet-6), Miles Okazaki (electric & acoustic guitars), Patricia Brennan (vibraphone, marimba), Kim Cass (double bass, electric bass) and Kate Gentile (drums, percussion).

Released on Pi Recordings.

Music from New York City.

Cool album art by Kate Gentile.

Listen | Read more | Available at:  AmazonBandcamp