From the liner notes of Forget All That and Just Wail, new music compiled by Ross Simonini for the 2013 music issue:
Microkingdom, “Peppermint Crab”
When did jazz stop being cool? It was once the very definition of coolness, of sunglasses worn indoors. There was even an aptly titled genre of music called “cool jazz,” which remains cool, as a nostalgic thing, as long as the musicians themselves remain back in the ’40s and ’50s. This era ended with sound effects, synthesizers, and the digitization of music. Miles Davis added some delay to his trumpet (during the Bitches Brew era), and it sounded transcendent, so, of course, every other musician followed suit. The ’70s brought fusion, created almost entirely by Davis’s former musicians, who were trying to be cool (like rock music) but ended up, from the critical perspective, in a sort of prog-rock ghetto. And on the other end of things, jazz was becoming institutionalized as schools began teaching it—always uncool. The raw, crunchy, Coltrane-like aggression was smoothed out, and the public’s relationship with jazz became defined by elevator speakers and hold-music. Thankfully, the seeds of free jazz have continued to birth errant pockets of noise in the underground. Here, the saxophone gets transformed by distortion into something not unlike the way a guitar sounds in noise music, and vibraphones are tweaked and twisted. Instruments are not what they seem to be, and neither is the music: what sounds at first to be improvised is then repeated, and revealed to be an actual melody (sort of). Everything here is born from the best kind of subversion, which will always be cool.