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People of the North: The Caul

by Jesse Jarnow on March 15, 2017
Spun-off from Brooklyn drone-jam mainstays Oneida, People of the North is a two-man sub-unit featuring keyboardist Bobby Matador and drummer Kid Millions. Creating in the deepest and most abstract free-music tradition, the paired performers have released five full-lengths in about the same amount of years. Shedding Oneida’s propulsive grooves, the longtime weird-rock comrades converse in rhythmic microdialects—chaos without disassociation. While most of People of the North’s efforts have drawn from the Oneida irregulars, The Caul drafts Jamie Saft from the avant-jazz world, helping Millions and Matador trace out more definite and subtly melodic shapes than they’ve found before, especially on “Surfacing,” where Millions’ drums chatter in audible response to Matador’s volume swells and Saft’s swaying thoughts. Sometimes blending together in rich, synaesthetic harmony, the trio’s rhythms and melodies switch identities freely and fluidly—a musical landscape that privileges only their ability to envision it. On the nearly 20-minute title track, a low, menacing rumble becomes a launching point for a hyperactive duo jam. Perhaps existential in its disruption, The Caul is anything but bleak, a longterm dialogue rendered across an LP’s worth of singular moments.
Authors: Jesse Jarnow
Artist: People of the North
Album: The Caul
Label: Thrill Jockey