The Hippo


Nov 20, 2019








Courtesy photo.

Jig’s Birthday Bash with Chromatropic, Trichromes and Friendship

When: Saturday, Nov. 19, 9 p.m.
Where: Penuche’s, 96 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $29-$49 

Jig’s gig
Three-band show on local promoter’s birthday

By Michael Witthaus

 After the Kinks recorded “You Really Got Me” in the summer of 1964, producers insisted on polishing up the song, an act that infuriated the band’s front man and songwriter, Ray Davies. He wanted a sound that evoked the sweaty London clubs his band performed in, even going so far as to slice an amplifier cone with his knife to achieve a raspier sound. Davies paid from his own pocket to re-do a rougher version of the song — which, of course, became a classic hit.

Chromatropic had the opposite idea for its first  album. The  Brooklyn jamtronica band has a reputation for performances full of  depth and improvisational spark.  They entered the studio craving something different — more controlled, less spontaneous. They wanted a reflection of the musical chemistry they’d honed together, but unlike the Kinks, polish and finishing touches were definitely desired. 
“We’ve been a band five years, and we wanted to hone that discipline even further,” drummer Mark Potter said in a recent phone interview.  “We wanted to use the studio as an instrument ... explore new and contemporary concepts that we’ve never done live. It’s Chromatropic at the core, but a lot more layering and production. We’re not worrying about whether it’s an example of what we can do live.”
Titled Abundance, the new disc is also a statement about long-playing music in a short-attention-span world. 
“There are individual tracks, but it’s more about how it flows from one end to the other,” Potter said. “We’re a singles culture and bands kind of drip-feed songs to their audiences. We wanted to put something together that has movement, like a classical piece, running from one end to the other. It’s kind of like a book for us.”
They worked with New York producer Phil Duke. 
“He’s a genius, especially in the way he sets up his studio and the way he mikes drums, “ Potter said. “He’s really taken our recording to a  level that we didn’t even know existed. The gear he uses, he has ... analog gear that really helped us bring an element of high fidelity out of our sound.” 
The new disc will come  out on Nov. 11. The release date  nicely coincides with an appearance one week later at Penuche’s, their first local show in six months. 
“It’s the longest we’ve gone without playing Manchester,” said Potter. “We’ve been holding off because we knew this was coming up ... new album, new merch, we’ll probably  give away some copies. So come in and get down; we’ll do what we love to do.”
The Hanover Street bar is a favorite of the band, particularly since lighting director Clay Doggett became a permanent member of Chromatropic. 
“He really brings it to life,” Potter said, “and Penuche’s is one of those places that’s so open we can do whatever we want with the visuals, so we bring the full rig in. The venue is awesome.”
The show is a  birthday celebration for  Jordan Paul, whose promotion company Jig’s Music typically books two  shows a week at Penuche’s. Playing just prior to Chromatropic is Trichromes, which Paul described as “a very versatile band that plays a mix of funk fusion mashed up with some hip-hop and a side dish of reggae to serve all music fans.” The Boston quartet formed in 2014 and just released a new album, Frank’s Dank Super No. 1 Hits. 
Also performing is William Lombardelli, a.k.a. Friendship,  a trombone layer and human beatbox who’s now solo after 10 years with Hornitz. The brass and synth duo announced a breakup on Facebook with a statement that sounded a lot like a marriage ending. 
“It just stopped working ... sad indeed,” Lombardelli wrote in recent text exchange. “We’re both moving forward regardless; I’m confident that we’ll both find our way.”
Friendship recently posted his first solo song, a spacey funk number called “Look At Me,” on SoundCloud, and indicated he may sit in with Chromatropic at the upcoming show. 
“It’s forcing me to grow and work harder on writing than I have for some time,” he said. “I’m playing with people that I haven’t, and I’m performing genres that I haven’t for a long while. Returning to one’s roots in times of change provides grounding and fresh ears on familiar territories.”

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