John Dwyer

After his tangent into psychedelic jazz with Bent Arcana, I’d assumed that maybe Dwyer might let that hair settle a bit before diving back into the fray, but with the arrival of Witch Egg it seems that there might be a new era of Dwyer jazz unfurling. Back just over a decade ago, John flayed the psyche with an album under the name of Sword + Sandals that threw his sound into the jaws of free jazz for a stretch, and both this album and Arcana seem like the natural extension of what he’d been prying at there. While Bent Arcana boasted a few bigger names, here Dwyer’s pared his crew and aimed for an even rawer sound that’s pulling back in some of the toasted lobe territory that he’d begun exploring all those years ago. Though this time he also lassos in just a touch of the psych-funk squalor that brought him to the grit-toothed edge on Arcana’s rundown.

The last workout saw Sunwatchers’ Peter Kerlin take the bass duties, while here Greg Coates takes up the thicker strings, laying down a funk-forged groove that’s thick and shaggy, amiably anchoring the record alongside Nick Murray’s (White Fence) tumble of drums. Dwyer again takes center hub on the solar system he’s amassing here, but the most noxious gas pockets of psychedelic skree belong Brad Caulkin’s skin-melting sax blasts. The band moves from anxious asphyxiation to fraught boogie with the skill of a seasoned setup, and if we weren’t all locked out of the live sphere it’d be nice to ponder what the combo would do to the state. Personally I’m hoping that John keeps this tributary of psych-jazz coming. It’s fresh vein for him to sink into, letting the frantic buzz of Osees fade under the caustic, hypnic jerk of corroded jazz for the night stalkers and insomniac pit crew out there.

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