Sam Gendel - Fresh Bread Music Album Reviews

Sam Gendel - Fresh Bread Music Album Reviews
Fifty-two tracks deep, this archival compendium might seem like a catch-all. In fact, it’s a chance to peek under the hood of the multi-instrumentalist’s creative process.

Sam Gendel plays both guitar and saxophone with a sneaky virtuosity. His saxophone is often heavily modulated and his guitar attack is more like a tiptoe. Even his singing is hushed and mumbling. And while it might sometimes sound like he’s filtering ideas through an old Casio keyboard, Gendel has a sincere fascination with melody and rhythm—you might hear him suddenly break into an earnest beatbox that’s more like a jazz drummer recording a scratch track. In just a few years he’s built a reputation out of creatively hungry experiments and collaborations. Across his last two albums alone, he’s revamped songbook standards, covered “Old Town Road” on a German synthesizer, and produced some gorgeously glitchy beats. Throw a dart at Gendel’s discography and you might land on something that sounds like way-out free jazz or steamy R&B.
Gendel’s latest album, Fresh Bread, is a catch-all collection of songs he recorded between 2012 and 2020. It’s not just a lot of music, it’s a haphazard jumble. Some of the 52 tracks contained here are public performances and some are home recordings; there’s free improv and fuzzy cloud rap, solo performances and ensemble collaborations. In its full version, Fresh Bread feels more like a personal archive than an album, but Gendel has also pared the tracklist down to just under 20 songs for a vinyl edition. It’s tempting to wonder if he would have been better off editing down the digital version, too, but all of these recordings really do deserve the light of day.

Where to start? “Roomba” reminded me of an Ocarina of Time song, the type of video-game moment where the chiptune production undersells its emotional gravity. In Gendel’s case, a simple loop of saxophone, guitar, and drums turns meditative and trance-like until a solo soars near the end. The production might sound a little cheap at first, but it lays bare the beauty of the melody. Other tracks are less tinny and more spiritually open: Over the free-jazz groove of “Sometimes I Feel So Good,” Gendel euphorically sing-shouts the track’s title. Where some of his ideas require some coaxing out, this is immediate and cathartic.

There are slow swells of ambient (“Wwaasshh”), solo sax experiments (“Transparent Background”), and songs that feel like outtakes from other Gendel albums: The guitar-driven “Fractl,” would have been right at home on his full-length debut, 4444. Not all of these ideas quite stand on their own merit; the ambient noodling of “Birds of Paradise” (track number 40) and “Tape Tiger” (track number 21) feels untethered and nonessential. More than three hours into the album Gendel’s confident and fluid rapping on “Champs Élysées” might sneak up on you, but his vocal performance is almost buried in the mix to the point of obscuring all the lyrics.

This much music can understandably trigger an I’ll-just-sift-through-it defense mechanism. To Gendel’s credit, Fresh Bread both resists and rewards that approach. The music might run the gamut, but the tracks are often loosely bunched together—you still get some jarring transitions, but not at every turn. More importantly, as disconnected as they may be, for the most part these aren’t half-baked or unfinished drafts, they’re thorough explorations of singular ideas. What might appear at first like a hard-drive dump turns out to be more like an exhibition in an art gallery. How you navigate the space is up to you.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Sam Gendel - Fresh Bread Music Album Reviews Sam Gendel - Fresh Bread Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 11, 2021 Rating: 5


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