Our Daily Bread 553: (Album/Video) Clamb ‘Glittering Watermelon Oracle’ and ‘Eggs’Our Daily Bread 553:

January 16, 2023

A look at both the new live album and video from the Boston trio Clamb
Words by Dominic Valvona

Clamb ‘Glittering Watermelon Oracle (Live At The Midway Café, July 19th 2021)’
“Eggs’ video created by Peter Danilchuk and Collaborators Digital

All hail the grapefruit, the egg and… well, the watermelon deities as our Boston pyramid schematic of jazz-funk-prog-krautrock-fusion release a live album of their pumped works. Once more into the magik temple with a sound that can only be described as warped mix of Mahavishu Orchestra, the Zapp band and Qüassi, Clamb both reinterpret tracks from their debut album Earth Mother Grapefruit and improvise new peregrinations – the title-track for one.

From the Midway Café stage (Jamaica Plain, Boston to be exact) on one excitable night after coming out from lockdown, the three-piece (though it looks like they extend to a quartet live) whoop and howl, simmer and stutter to polymetric drums (courtesy of Joshua Merhas), synthesized zips and zaps (Peter Danilchuk) and jazzy, funk-fried noodling fretless basslines (Jameson Stewart). Egged-on by an enthusiastic, let loose from pandemic morose, audience at all times, they transform the debut album tracks ‘Oyster Sunday’, ‘Land Breath’, ‘Triangular Fÿord’ and ‘Fields Cornelius’. The first two being twinned as it were, connected in one almost continuous performance that’s one-third Parliament, one-third Yes, and another third Can. The Floydian “Fÿord” (encouraged with a “we can do this one!”) is retuned to the gothic flange of The Banshees and various krautrock evocations of the vapourous and evaporating. The latter, and album finale, combines the Jah (Wobble) with the Jarre (Jean-Michael) on a radiating progressive voyager trip.

In-between those Earth Mother Grapefruit inclusions there’s the stuttered and scuttled, cymbal dancing, ray emitted astro-funk title-track (imagine Tortoise sharing room on an 80s sci-fi soundtrack with Holy Fuck and the Van Allen Belt); the Numan/Vangelis modulating, oscillating sine wave plant life panorama ‘Emerge! O Citroid’; and Tangerine Dream(ed) space dusted orbital re-entry ‘Plutonian Auspex’. And through it all there’s a sense that Clamb is having fun with these outlandish prog-jazz fusions: those heads being raised up shaking with enjoyment rather than downcast towards the navel and erstwhile. This same attitude bleeds into the band’s new hand-made animated video for ‘Eggs’ – taken from their already mentioned debut album. Danilchuk’s volcanic erupted covered Hellenic columns and ruins strewn landscape and phoenix rising from Easter eggs cut-ups are handed over to Digital Awareness (responsible for projecting the visuals at the group’s live shows), who dress it up further with various psychedelic acid-rain, buzzing and lava spewing effects. It’s a collaboration that perfectly captures Clamb’s cyber-generating mix of the surreal, charming, goofy and magical. All hail the fruits of a funked nature.

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