John Korsrud’s Hard Rubber Orchestra
Crush is perfectly dreamy—if you’re talking about the kind of very busy dream in which the laws of gravity have failed, insectoid predators are on your tail, and you’re swimming in midair down a long tunnel while the lights are being shot out behind you.
Don’t tell the Freudians about that last bit, okay?
Otherwise, I’m not kidding. For evidence that Hard Rubber Orchestra bandleader John Korsrud has an insanely active internal life, look no further than Crush’s title track. There’s more stuff crammed into its 10 minutes than most bands fit onto an entire CD, and it’s good stuff: a bass line so dramatic it deserves its own Hollywood epic; Afro-Cuban conga drums seemingly choreographed by Sun Ra; pole-vaulting horn parts so perfectly realized that they almost sound computer-generated; and a Brad Turner trumpet solo of provocative intensity.
In a word, it’s awesome—and I’m trained not to use that word lightly.
Korsrud offers his listeners temporary relief with a handful of brief chamber-music palate-cleansers, but generally the emphasis here is on the fast, the complex, and the difficult. This in no way detracts from the music’s visceral power, however, as saxophonist Phil Dwyer makes clear with his shockingly gutsy solos on both “Lowest Tide” and “Slice”.
He and Turner aren’t the only players on top of their game here. Twenty-seven of Vancouver’s finest musicians contribute to Korsrud’s manic mechanisms, and every last one shines.