Code Girl

Code Girl by Mary Halvorson.

Code Girl is a new album from Mary Halvorson and a sort of expanded version of her trio, Thumbscrew. Thumbscrew is normally Halvorson on guitar, Michael Formanek, Bass, and Tomas Fujiwara, drums. Code Girl adds vocalist Amirtha Kidambi and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

Halvorson wrote the lyrics herself and they are somehow mundane while at the same quite poetic and cryptic. I couldn’t really tell you what any single song is exactly about, yet the feelings they evoke seem familiar and resonant.

The music feels like a mixture of structure and improvisation within that structure. Well, perhaps a bit more structure than improvisation.

My first point of comparison was the harmonic and rhythmic structures of Henry Cow and related bands. The music is quite busy, with many chord changes, harmonies, and lots of a certain cadence of rhythm that remind me of Henry Cow. Semi-martial, yet loose limbed at the same time.

Some have compared the Ms Kidambi’s vocals with those of Steve Lacy’s vocalist Irene Aebi. That sort of gives you an idea that her delivery is dramatic and poetic and her voice not “conventionally beautiful”. Like Aebi, Kidambi does spend a lot of time on flat mid-western sounding vowels and is an alto or contra-alto. I think the delivery matches the material and Ms Kidambi is not afraid to whip out her Jazz vocalist chops on songs like “The Unexpected Natural Phenomenon”. In any case, there’s a lot of material here to digest, a double CD. Many moods, and a lot of music. I’ve been enjoying digging in to it and I hope you will take the time as well.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #AmirthaKidambi #AmbroseAkinmusire #MaryHalvorson #MichaelFormanek #TomasFujiwara #Aizoaceae #CarpobrotusEdulis