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Percy Jones/Alex Skolnick/Kenny Grohowski/Tim Motzer: PAKT

Do you like improvised music? Well, then you've come to the right place. PAKT is the new release from the union of ex-Brand X bassist Percy Jones, Testament guitar wizard Alex Skolnick, drummer Kenny Grohowski, and avant-garde guitar maestro Tim Motzer. Together they have created a wide assortment of haunting pieces that bridge together progressive rock, jazz-rock/fusion, avant-garde, and electronica, 12 tracks that bubble and boil and allow the musicians to feed off each other through a series of well executed improvisations. Record during a COVID-19 virtual concert titled 'The ShapeShifter Lab', these four virtuosos did not disappoint, with two sets, one titled 'The Unsilence' and the other 'The Sacred Ladder' featuring an abundance of deep grooves from Jones & Grohowski that allow Skolnick & Motzer to lay down their snaking guitar explorations. From lengthy epic jaunts such as "The Mystery", "Brothers of Energy", "Emergence", and "Drifts & Alignments" to more concise, and dare I say 'catchy' numbers like "The Sacred Ladder" and "Night Crossing", there are thrilling sounds to be found every step of the way.

Fans of daring, instrumental music certainly would be well advised to give PAKT a go. Let's hope we hear more from this configuration...each guy is an absolute beast, and together they knocked it out of the park here.

Track Listing
1. Emergence
2. Over Strange Lands
3. The Mystery
4. The Unsilence
5. Brothers Of Energy
6. Perseverance
7. The Sacred Ladder
8. Drifts & Alignments
9. Nigh Crossings
10. The Great Spirit
11. Departure Sanctuary
12. Cosmic Fire

Added: November 18th 2021
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 664
Language: english

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Percy Jones/Alex Skolnick/Kenny Grohowski/Tim Motzer: PAKT
Posted by Eric Porter, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-11-18 13:28:10
My Score:

Four musicians united in their love of improv performed together at the Shapeshifter Lounge in NYC on August 15th 2020. In front of a small audience of staff and film crew, PAKT played two 50 minute sets (approximately) completely improvised. The bands mission statement: “PAKT recalls the fearless attitude and daring approach that originally defined progressive music: where the magic of the moment always triumphed over preconception. Templates be damned…the music blazes its own path! The members of the band are all excellent at their craft, Percy Jones (bass, Brand X), Alex Skolnick (guitar, Testament), Kenny Grohowski (drums, Brand X), and Tim Motzer (guitar, Bandit65), all have the chops to make this work. Unfortunately, the end result amounts to little more than noodling and noise to these ears. It seems they rarely if ever truly connect with each other, but rather each of them goes off on their own and never really become one. My favorite track “The Sacred Ladder” creates some serious energy, and Skolnick seems to find his place with some excellent soloing, and the track has the most energy and firepower to be found. There is not much else on this two disc set that captures my interest.

These are obviously talented musicians, and on any given night this type of format could explode. I would not miss an opportunity to see these guys live, and maybe as they continue to work, they will combine improve with some scripted compositions that could help connect the band. They are touring this December and an album is in the works for 2022. I will seek out more music from PAKT and hope for a different result, but to quote the Grinch “the noise, all the noise, noise, noise, noise!”

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