I’ve been a champion of labels such as Cuneiform, MoonJune, and Esoteric to name a few. And there’s one label that has been around for ten years and that is the AltrOck label which is founded by Marcello Marinone and Francesco Zago. I first became aware of the label when I was watching the documentary of Jose Zegarra Holder and Adele Schmidt’s second documentary of the Romantic Warriors documentary covering the Rock in Opposition movement (RIO) and I knew I became hooked into the label right from the start in 2013.
And one of the bands that have taken me by surprise this year along with La Coscienza Di Zeno, Alco Frisbass, Not a Good Sign, and Yugen to name a few is a group from Louisville, Kentucky named Ut Gret. They are band that have been around since the ‘80s and they have this strange combination of Free Jazz, Rock in Opposition, and Medieval music rolled into one giant hot and spicy burrito and two milkshakes to enjoy for lunch.
This is the band’s fourth album and despite the various line-up changes, it considers; Jackie Royce on Bassoon, Contra-Basoon, and Flute, Stevie Roberts on Keyboards, Samplers, Marimba, and Vibraphones, Gary Pahler on Drums and Percussion, Steve Good on Clarinet and Bass Clarinet, and Joee Conroy on Guitar, Chapman Stick, Fretless Bass, Acoustic 12-String, and Electronics. And not to mention Cheyenne Mize on Vocals and Violin, Sydney Simpson on Double Bass, and Gregory Acker on Sax, Flute, Percussion, and Didgeridoo.
There are 10 compositions on the album and the band really do a lot of improvisations throughout their music with difficult time changes that had the hair on the back of my neck go up. They take those elements of the three genres combined also with the Canterbury scene that makes it well checked and well done. I can hear the sounds of King Crimson, Soft Machine in which one of the tracks is a tribute to the late, great Hugh Hopper, Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica-era, Univers Zero, and of course not to mention, Gryphon and it’s perfect inspirations that makes the tracks an adventure into those wondering touches.
I also love their usage of the Mellotron in which the mysterious captures the essences on the instrumental pieces and of course the Bassoon in which Jackie Royce is channeling the sounds of UZ’s Michel Berckmans. It creates the tension for the dramatic moments to create the atmosphere and almost like a film score for Bunuel’s short films and the touches of Chamber and Prog, can be a darker and tense motion that will shivers down your spine that will see where they would go into next.
I had a great time listening to Ut Gret’s Ancestors' Tale. And I’ll admit, it’s not an easy album to listen to. And with a couple of listens about two times, they really capture those elements have done something out of the ordinary. And with the genres of Medieval, Classical, RIO, and Jazz. So if you are ready to explore the sounds of the four touches, then look no further and enjoy the adventures of Ut Gret’s fourth album. You will not be disappointed to have a Burrito and a Milkshake to listen to.