Classic Jazz Moods

by Grasshopper

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A quiet, contemplative exploration of jazz sounds, which was recognized by NPR's "All Songs Considered" on their best of 2010 tapes list.

Recorded live Feb. 2010 at Moultrie


"It's been a pleasure to watch Grasshopper's progression from a noise duo to something of a fully formed space-music outfit -- a bit like Yellow Swans' trajectory. Just when I think their trumpets-and-electronics set-up will get old, Jesse DeRosa and Josh Millrod find a wormhole. Of the many cassettes the duo put out in 2010, Classic Jazz Moods was tops. The A-side sounds like space trumpeter Bill Dixon meditating on something like Vangelis' ambient smoove-jazz soundtrack for Blade Runner. The B-side gets a little noisier, cascading echoed trumpet calls across a war-torn field."

- NPR "All Songs Considered" (


"Classic Jazz Moods on Sam Goldberg's Pizza Night label is only a semi-tongue-in-cheek title; this is the cleanest sounding Grasshopper recording yet. There's a minimum of distortion and electronics, and what happens when you strip all that away? Grasshopper is probably even more impressive. "Looming Clouds Rain Gold and Frankincense" begins with Patton-esque heavily delayed trumpet calls. More interesting is a somber undercurrent unfurling just audibly underneath the cool, bright bleats. This trumpet grows and grows, moving from background looming to front and center with a heart-wrenchingly mournful elegy. All the while a subtle pulse of electronics takes shape with a deep, sub-bass undertow. This really is some high-minded composition. The cassette goes beyond noise or psych or drone; Millrod's and DeRosa's classical training shines bright but heavily imbued with the glorious ambiguities cultivated in the finest psych, drone and noise recordings. Their trenchant compositional style comes to complete fruition on this piece. I don't know if I've ever heard anything this eloquent on a small-run cassette before. A spiritual partner to "Looming Clouds," "A Gift Committed to Flesh" fills out the rest of the side. Brass gently wavers in the wind as this piece expands fully to cinematic scope. More hopeful, and eventually more cacophonous, than "Looming Clouds," "Gift" is just as masterful and articulate.

"Strength and Sanity (A Mournful Apparition Shrouded in Blood Mist)" takes the entirety of the second side. Gently quivering electronic tones seem to dominate at first but the trumpets bide their time before making their play. They set the trap, stalking slowly before completely swallowing up the piece. Thick melodic swells overlap and, just... at some point you realize for the past few minutes you've been slowly drowning in heavenly beauty. I know that sounds hyperbolic but I guarantee you it is not."

- Aux Out (


released July 12, 2010

Josh Millrod - Trumpet, Electronics
Jesse DeRosa - EVI, Trumpet, Electronics



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