There are groups that, despite playing materials whose roots are firmly planted in the grounds of definite genres, defy an easy tagging due to a multiplicity of motives. San Diego’s Cosmologic, the quartet of Jason Robinson, Nathan Hubbard, Michael Dessen and Scott Walton, are precisely one of those units. Arrived at the fourth album, this mixture positively stands on a jazz pedestal yet the junctures in which they don’t sound like that are countless, the exploitation of a vastly proficient improvisational sagacity shifting the solidity of the interplay more towards a coordinated kind of self-government than run-of-the-mill structures, with allowances to vamp-based vigorous drive (as in the opening “The Rumpus”). Even when theoretically performing without restrictions a sort of inherent format seems to materialize, which represents both the heartening trait of this CD and the factor that prevents the music from conquering the peak altitudes typical of the most stretchy idioms.
On the whole, this is an archetypal specimen of technically complex Cuneiform project: the instrumental rank to which the act belongs is far above the ground, the boundary between the members firm. Robinson is an efficient reedist, his parallel actions with Dessen’s trombone engendering ever-remarkable, often unanticipated contrapuntal juxtapositions halfway through atonalism and chamber music. Percussionist Hubbard and bassist-cum-piano Walton preserve the right equilibrium of instant resourcefulness and sharp moderation, acting as robust branches for dozens of thematic ideas to mature on.
In all likelihood this is a sleeper destined to grow with every listen; a methodologically prominent record, indubitably rewarding for educated ears.