Covering Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is most certainly no easy feat, but in the hands of Chicago's The Butchershop Quartet, a four piece avant-garde/jazz-rock ensemble, the results are for the most part pretty impressive. Consisting of Dan Sullivan (guitar), Rob Sullivan (bass), Nathaniel Braddock (guitar), and Dan Sylvester (drums), the band weave plenty of dissonant and jagged guitar lines and throbbing rhythmic grooves along to Stravinsky's epic piece. Their are 2 CD's in this set, the first being the four musicians doing their thing to The Rite of Spring, and the second CD features remixes completed by some of the rest of the roster from the Alabaster label (a division of Galapagos4) to a more hip-hop flavor. The mix of jazzy, hip-hop styled beats and rhymes proves to be a stark contrast to the more rock/avant-garde aggression put forth by The Butchershop Quartet. For these ears, CD 1 is the way to go here, and most relevant to prog and jazz-fusion listeners.
The dueling guitars of Braddock and Sullivan are a joy to indulge in throughout the 14 sections that make up "Part 1: The Adoration of the Earth" and "Part 2: The Sacrifice". Shards of ragged and fuzzed out electric guitar burst come from both players, weaving melodic jazz lines one second then molten rock licks the next, while Sylvester's nimble drum fills and Rob Sullivan pounding away on the bass. While overall the entire piece is less than 34 minutes long, and many of the sections brief, it's an exciting listen overall, as the players seem very in synch with each other, laying down plenty of complex, unison lines, and searing solo spots.
Those who relish dissonant, avant-garde sounds that bridge the gap between jazz, rock, and prog, The Rite of Spring as interpreted by The Butchershop Quarter will be a dark yet fun listen. The bonus CD of remixes will also be of interest if you don't mind your avant-garde with a bit of hip-hop thrown in.
2. The Augers Of Spring: Dances Of The Young Girls
3. Ritual Of Abduction
4. Spring Rounds
5. Ritual Of The Two Rival Tribes
6. Procession Of The Sage
7. The Sage
8. Dance Of The Earth
10. Mystic Circles Of The Young Girls
11. The Naming And Honoring Of The Chosen One
12. Evocation Of The Ancestors
13. Ritual Action Of The Ancestors
14. Sacrifcial Dance (The Chosen One)