This album is a Harsh Noise Movement featuring the talented saxophonist Akano Shibahito. It’s not the first album where they happen to work together but this one is my favorite.
It’s a clever mix of jazz and noise where jazz takes the crown (while their first collaboration, “JAZZ” ,was pretty much the inverse). Surprisingly enough, it’s on Hard Bop that Akano Shibahito is the least contributing (only on “night terrors” , “hard bop” and “serene fusion” while he was on every tracks of “JAZZ”).
It starts off very strongly with “the town and the city” which is one of my HNM’s favorite efforts so far (from what I listened to, he did TONS of albums.). It seems to work hand in hand with the following track “Night Terrors” as they have subtle similarities which give them a common identity. I would totally see that as the soundtrack of some seriously fucked-up film noir where the classy Humphrey Bogart would be replaced by Bad Lieutenant.
What follows in the album is unusually rhythmic for an HNM release (at least according to what I know about his discography). Hard Bop is sustained by a constant drum pattern and Akano’s skillful display of saxophone, ending up with frantic harsh noise which never takes over the rest of the musical piece.
Temporary Chaos is as it’s name tells us : chaotic and lurks here into some kind of free jazz/noise and a pretty successful attempt at one I must say.
We then are heading on “Autumn Falls” which is pretty mellow compared to the rest we got to listen to so far. It’s a quite emotional and contemplative track with only some reversed piano effects and a trumpet track.
Evening Mist comes back on something more energic with a kind of swingy drum and a clarinet solo supported by good old harsh noise.
Celestial Knowledge is very mellow and brings us in something very classy, with reversed sounds which give it a little something of very airy with a spoken voice speaking about the History of jazz. Suddenly, all hell break loose when the man mentions Duke Ellington band. Don’t ask me what the Duke did to HNM to piss him off like this in the middle of a sweet track, I don’t know!
Serene Fusion is probably my fav track. It’s the perfect mix of jazz (featuring Akano Shibahito’s sax) and noise, it all goes perfectly together.
For Gabi is more of an outro in my opinion. It’s a slow piano piece that closes all the awesomeness of this album.
It’s really worth at least throwing an ear upon, especially if you like unusual takes on music. You can get the album here : https://harshnoisemovement.bandcamp.com/album/hard-bop