After releasing a 2024 essential from Salsburg/Oldham/Trotter, No Quarter has got another fantastic collaboration on the way this week. Though collaboration is a bit underselling it. Beings is a band proper and one that brings together an incredible wealth of talent. Steve Gunn, Jim White, Shahzad Ismaily, and Zoh Amba form the backbone of the band, exploring the intersection between free jazz, no wave, and post-punk. The record is voracious in its interpolation of sounds. White and Ismaily lay down a foundational pulse, a bedrock of supple bass amid a flurry of sticks. Amid their anchor and anarchy, Gunn and Amba thread fragmented guitar passages and squalling sax, occasionally wandering into calmer waters with Zoh taking on vocals as well.

The eponymous outing is a storm of color and a crush of angles and light. Like a funhouse hit by a bulldozer, there are moments when Beings reflect and refract their sound in all directions. On “Face of Silence,” the band hits a peak of ecstatic ambience, a whirlpool that pulls the listener into their maw. The band is at its best when in balance of the squirm and the soothe, though. Amba’s sax is a beacon on the record, catching the winds and pushing her bandmates towards needed serenity and steering them into the tempest unafraid.

“Happy To Be” exemplifies this dynamic as the band coils behind her and Amba whips at the listener, wild and unbound with serrated sax bleats. The band is mindful to salve the burn, and the following “Morning Sea” comes on like a sunrise, reaching as close to pop as they get on the record. The players’ combined experience comes through in moments like these. They’ve created a record that relishes flow. They take care in their approach, and we’re set aloft on their their journey, winding up with the cuts and callouses to show for it. Beings is an impressive debut and certainly positioned to be one of 2024’s best.

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