LINER NOTES BY DOMINIC MEKKY
Uncivilized is a flexible musical group that, like a pufferfish, swells and contracts in size without losing its identity. Almost any configuration of its members, no matter how strange or lopsided, becomes whole the moment the music begins. This extreme modularity—which can make it feel less like a band than an embodied argument for a radical way of life—is possible for one reason only: the wellspring of Tom and his guitar.
Tom’s mercurial guitar playing is like the brainstem, the lowest fundament without which the rest would simply stop in place. This means that every configuration needs Tom in it, but it also means something else: even though nobody but Tom is playing on this recording, what you’re hearing is still Uncivilized, the group, not a solo effort and not an arrangement of the music for solo guitar. I don’t mean to suggest anything spooky like the Godhead, but Tom’s playing births, carries, and leads the music by example, and so, even in this form, the soul of Unciv is absolutely intact within one musician.
In step with Tom’s aesthetic philosophy, this record is unleavened and unvarnished. And there’s something graciously vulnerable about the display, where even the choppy water of the recording session is not hidden from view. Stylistically, “Folk-Jazz” is a decent shorthand, but this material is woven with the variegated fibers of American music, from Copland to Monk to Daniel Johnston, and it all comes back to the guitar. In their harmony, melody, and texture, these songs are landmarks on well-traveled terrain. In Opioid Structures, a melody rises out of a meterless tremolo pedal and repeats like an incantation, clothed in strange, dense chords. D./M./S., a song without any marked melody, sounds as if meant to underscore the slow progression of a caravan whose beleaguered pilgrims make their way under a dusty sun. Placebo - Niche is rich and full; drink it down like a mug of warm broth.
released April 23, 2021
Acoustic guitar (w/o Plectrum) by "Uncivilized Tom" Csatari at Re Recording in Red Hook, Brooklyn on April 5, 2021.
Uncivilized is a New York-based jazz collective headed by Tom Csatari. They first appeared in 2016 with the Melted Candy EP,
and followed up with a string of singles and EPs leading up to their debut full-length in 2018, Uncivilized Plays Peaks.Their music is composed, but loose. While the horns may sometimes head into free territory, it's a melodic and exuberant sound. ~Sean Westergaard, AllMusic...more