Everything is nothing, so basically the universe and everything in it doesn't exist, at least according to New York performer-poet Copernicus. For almost thirty years he has remained staunchly independent, preaching the beauty of freedom and nothingness as both a recording artist and author. His albums are usually poetic ventures featuring improvised music that ranges from jazz and classical to blues and the avant-garde. His latest release Disappearance for Moonjune Records finds him continuing this improvised approach with longtime collaborator and musical director Pierce Turner.
Armed with a large ensemble of musicians Copernicus (born Joseph Smalkowski) recorded these eight existentialist compositions in a single day's work. While I can't say I know much about the twelve subatomic particles and the quark gluon plasma, two subjects covered in extensive detail here, it's hard not to be imporessed by the man's intensity and level of dedication. Disappearance is an intriguing journey from beginning to end and the impressive cast of players assembled on this album match their band leader's level of passion stride for stride, which often takes the music to some very interesting places indeed. For example there are some great vocal trade off's between Copernicus and guitarist / vocalist Larry Kirwan on "Atomic New Orleans" and the one two punch of the final two songs, the thirteen minute "Poor Homo Sapiens" and "Revolution!" which clocks in at just over twenty minutes, are fantastic examples of how just how adept these talented players are at creating music in the moment.
If you've been following Copernicus's well traveled journey through the psyche over the past thirty odd years then Disappearance could very well be considered his masterpiece. However, for this reviewer even after playing this one repeatedly from beginning to end I can't say I really connected with either the message or the majority of the music. While I generally do enjoy music that is slightly outside the box or avant-garde, Disappearance ultimately just left me sitting on the fence.
1) 12 Subatomic Particles
2) The Quark Gluon Plasma
3) The Blind Zombies
4) Humanity Created The Illusion Of Itself
5) Atomic New Orleans
6) Poor Homo Sapiens