I wanted to give Chicago Underground more opportunity to grab me by the ears. Maybe they have that in them. Not on this outing. More educated Chicago Underground Duo fans can come to their rescue and slam me. But on face value, it certainly doesn't move me and sounds more like a sonic experiment.
Yeah, it just meanders and gets too easily pushed aside with respect to what constitutes musicality for me. I strain to find something engaging, moving. Maybe for what they are after - this works. I keep giving it a chance, but, I just can't call this improvisation. "Boca Negra" is so much sonic noodling to me. It is missing too many elements of improvisation, perhaps most of all--a storylike feature that right off states a head turning statement, devlopment of a theme, originality, and resolution.
What surprises me most of all, is that I totally love Ornette, Haden, DeJohnette, Cherry, Braxton, Crispell, Matt Wilson, Dresser, and so forth. I get what those cats are doing. I bet Pat Metheny could make something more interesting limited to just two strings and maybe a couple of key modulations using what he knows about tone, texture, rhythm, dynamics, melody.
I don't know what to call "Boca." It reminds me of musicians who show up early, warm up as they try out some new charts for first time. For credibility, I have the yellow "Synaesthesia" album and that is far better listen for me. After repeated spins of "Boca Negra", all I could think was "you win some; you lose some" Compared to "Synaesthesia", I hoped for more "feel" and musicality, harmony, key shift, so forth. I love playing that is interesting, more emotionally hot that takes risks while managing to avoid formulaic, catchy, stuck in my head stuff. "Boca" pushes it too far that direction. It's parched. My teeth were watering for more connection to harmony or I can't help but think a little more sincerity and creativity. "Boca" quickly gets derivative and mostly forgettful. I am at a loss to describe this album. Upon repeated listening, some dozen times or so, in different contexts, and given that I consider myself to have an educated ear in this style of playing, (why I bought it), I am soon easily lost in practically anything else going on around me. I'll keep spinning it and try . Maybe after 30 or so plays I'll get.
No, it doesn't hurt my ears, nor does it inspire them. I found myself thinking "Okay, a good start, and before I knew it I forgot it was there. Very easy to slips into background. It's definately not playing from your feet up to put out a message; which is what I listen for in improv.
I do like its production values, nice packaging and so forth - overall very clean, minimalist, abstract. Indeed, I have heard much worse than "Boca." Still, for now -- mostly sonic meanering.