AVAILABLE NOW: Jimmy Chamberlin Complex – “The Parable” – MAKE Records
Jimmy Chamberlin Complex
Engages in Courtship of Responsive
Mimicry on Sophomore Album The Parable
Famed Smashing Pumpkins Drummer
Collaborates with Billy Mohler, Randy Ingram,
Sean Woolstenhulme and Chris Speed
Nothing quite prepares you for the surprise of being granted a wish you don’t remember making. Consider the grebe.
Stumble upon a freshwater lake in spring and you might catch the ritualistic mating dance of two swanlike birds engaged in a courtship of responsive mimicry that begins with the tenderness of curled flirtatious necks and ends with an exultant dance upon the surface of water. It transcends the language we have as humans to describe it. You have to see it to believe it. If you had known about it beforehand, you would have stood lakeside and wished for it. Yet, somewhere, out in the wild, the wish you never made has already been granted.
Such is the case with The Parable, the second full-length release from the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. Recorded in a single session, on a Wednesday this past June, at the historic Sunset Sound studio in Los Angeles, a wish was granted while the rest of us were busy tending to the tiny details of our daily lives.
Like unobserved nature, the Complex went about the important business of filling that silent studio room without quite disturbing it. The surprise of their own music-making is less like five individuals scribbling down plans and executing them with rehearsed precision and more like the kind of swan-courtship described above. We’re hearing it for the first time. And so are they.
“What you hear on the record is literally the first or second attempt at playing these compositions in the room,” says drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. “We just got into a room, sketched out the tunes, maybe jotted down an arrangement or two. Then, we were off to the races. We didn’t want to get into forcing it too much. We wanted it to evolve in its own footprint. It freaks people out, but for me, I’m a big believer — not in an irresponsible way — in the idea of just letting things happen.”
“It’s about sharing the experience, as it happens, together,” echoes Billy Mohler, bassist and producer. “This was the warmest, most inviting session. It was about holding up someone’s strengths and figuring out how to strengthen a group from inside of it. You don’t even think about it. You just get with the right people and it’s about how we can make the best music together. It’s a band. It’s not a project.”
These sentiments of humility drop away and the full force of a revelation hits along with the first strike of the snare drum on opener “Horus and the Pharaoh.” There’s something spider-like and ghostly about the guitar performance of Sean Woolstenhulme — the very first sound you hear on The Parable — whom both Mohler and Chamberlin give credit for the courage of joining this quintet in the first place.
The undeniable humanness of The Parable is on display with every note played — a comfort itself in a world increasingly barreling toward the synthetic and digitized — but it’s that sound of standup bass, the strings and the wood and the hand that crawls across the fingerboard. That’s what’s real. That’s the lesson. If a parable is meant to leave us with something useful, it’s just that — in 2017, you can call it jazz music, but it’s really just the act of living translated into melody.
“There was very little talking,” says Chamberlin about the session. “Words weren’t necessary, because the conversation that was going on was so much deeper than anything you could say.”
Consider The Parable. Your wish has been granted in advance.