The eponymous debut album of the young trio Les Rhinocéros from Washington D.C. is a crazy, playful musical collage. On one track, birds sing, an elderly singer croaks a folk ditty, loops pulsate, a guitar’s spiky notes seem bent on puncturing a waterbed, a drumkit rolls and hisses, and then suddenly a klezmer tune emerges, bouncing happily towards a final chord. Johnway, the album’s penultimate track, begins with a repeated riff that is reminiscent of West African highlife. High above the riff, sounds played backwards stutter along, while a plush chord swells and bulges at a leisurely pace, covered in bristly guitar tufts. A drum rhythm joins this parade, and in an instant it sets everything dancing—and you are not even halfway through the track.
It comes as no surprise that John Zorn—former champion of unbridled musical collage—supports this trio. They breathe the same taste for anarchy, but without Zorn’s grimness. The music is playful right down to its very last abrupt note that that chucks you into the abyss of silence.