Quest for Structure
"AKIEF THE UNDERWATER WELDER/THUG PASSION"
(12-INCH VINYL EP)
Rolling around in musical sludge isn't a problem for Slippers; they just call it "improvisation." Their sound is a head-butt of indefinable listening, a grasp for quixotic sonic goals. Sounds heroic, but is this Long Beach quintet striving for too much? "I want to see something honest and pure," says Slippers guitarist Michael Cody. Comments like this would indicate these guys are guilty of basking in the bullshit of jazz snobbery, but in their defense, Cody and his crew also say purity means something as experimental as making their all-instrumental music bend with the quick twists and tempo changes of the DJ nation. But Slippers don't wallow in easy DJ crowd-pleasing antics. Their domain is the enigma—hence their name, derived from the Charles Mingus composition "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jiveass Slippers." Make sense? Of course not. But surreal titles are the only way they can paint proper pictures with their songs. Their long, seven- to 10-minute grooves sound like sonic meditations of gangsters lounging on torn-up couches or maybe a chronically late jazz band rushing into a club to blow some wicked bebop notes. Surprisingly, Cody says Slippers' methods are part of his band's quest for structure. He and drummer Brandon Laws split off from Hasselhoff Curtainrod, an improv band famous for never practicing or plotting out their Sonic Youth-style white noise. The bigger surprise here is that Slippers' forays into imaginative realms have lasted six years now, longer than the solemn vows of many marriages. Stability in improvisation? That does take imagination.
Slippers perform at Que Sera, 1923 E. Seventh St., Long Beach, (562) 599-6170. May 24, 10 p.m. $3. 21+.
OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.
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