The psychedelic jazz well is running over in 2022, from the signals bouncing out of Denmark, to Canadian collectives growing headier by the album, but this record from Rich Ruth is up among the best of the bunch. I Survived, It’s Over works to process grief, angst, and trauma moving away from Ruth’s more ambient past into something that’s tipped with turbulence and biting into the soft flesh of fusion. From the opener, with its neon-glow of pre-dawn that comes through the fizzing organ, to the complex layers and soft fog of “Older, But Not Less Confused,” Ruth’s album finds a balance between a calm inner clock and the heat and haze of the outside world. More precisely it seeks to reconcile their attempts to overwhelm us all. Ruth battles the vertigo of chaos that erodes each day with an explosion of woodwinds and seared guitars that leave a taste of charcoal in the mouth.
The album comes in the wake of personal anxieties for Ruth, from being held at gunpoint to his neighborhood being ravaged by tornadoes. The forces that lie outside of our control mount and grin menacingly, but he channels the nervous itch into an album that strikes back at entropy like a juggernaut of sound. For all of its ragged glory, Ruth’s album is remarkably composed. The guitars, sax, and drums are met in measure by the aforementioned organ, but also gauzed synths. Pedal Steel and flute spar while harp strings cool the temperatures that heat much of the album to an incandescent Ombré glow of white and orange. Here, Ruth gives us all an outlet of angst to let fire into the void. It’s a vital voice in 2022.
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