Philadelphia City Paper
March 8, 2001
As Above: Live at the Lizard Lounge
(Grapeshot Media/Live Archive)
In Philadelphia we get our instrumental improv fix from Slipping Into Sublimity. Up in Cambridge, MA, they’ve got Club d’Elf – an ever changing, jazzy, dubbed-out hodgepodge performing the bi-weekly groove ritual they initiated in 1998 at the Lizard Lounge. The red-lit basement holds around 120 people, with the band set up amid the audience. The outcome is like DJ Spooky jamming with some soulful white boys or a spaced-out Herbie Hancock exchanginf timbres with Tortise. Founder and bassist Mike rivard surrounds himself with dexterous instrumentalists yielding trip-hop-ish drum beats, worldly percussion and colorful processed samples and electronics. Several notable guest musicians drop in on this double-disc collection: Reeves gabrels on guitar; DJ Logic on turntables; Mat and Joe Maneri on smooth sax, clarinet and violin; Dr. Didg’s didgeridoo; Brahim Fribgane on oud and doumbek, plus much more. To witness d’Elf’s live outings would undoubtedly be mesmerizing; Luckily for us the folks at Live Archive were able to capture some astonishingly warm-sounding specimens from these intimate and now legendary gatherings.