Plotz! – Extraordinary Renditions
Combining an absurd amount of influences from the gypsy party tunes of the Balkans to dance jams that rock, Plotz!’s Extraordinary Renditions is a thirty-six minute experience of instrumental virtuosity sure to impress even an experienced listener.
Don’t be fooled by the mechanical, eerie beginning of “Blue Web Fire,” for there is nothing mechanical about the way these guys play. With sweet drum beats kicking in behind a rather involved guitar part, the song takes off with an immediate Middle-eastern feel. Jake Vossler’s shredding guitar lines flow harmoniously with Daniel Rosenboom’s trumpet melodies, and Austin Wrinkle slows down the pace before letting Rosenboom carry the piece away. Several fast runs and the overall pace of the song make “Blue Web Fire” a fun, action-filled song.
The disc speeds over “Memede Mori Memede” just as fast as the quartet can play before settling into “Crabman,” a four-minute piece reminiscent of a day at the beach. With bassist Orest Balaban and Vossler creating a happy melody, Wrinkle supplies the easy-going beat.
“Clark the Shark” tears the lid off of the funk jar for Plotz!. Rosenboom’s trumpet leads take the listener sailing through the waters of musical bliss while Vossler’s speedy fingers leave you with no choice but to simply rock out and dance the night away. The same can be said for “Splash,” a dance tune filled with craziness until a breakdown. The beat slows and the guitar mellows out before creeping back into the sound waves with a little funk again.
The next couple tracks on the album allow Plotz! to show off their skills as not only fast musicians, but also experienced ones. Through the speed of “Kopanitsa” and the heaviness of “Humbaba’s Head,” each member of the quartet gets a moment to throw his two cents into the pot and stir up a unique, diverse pair of songs. “Tarantella” and “Makedonsko Oro” follow suit: heavy and fast, with crazy themes.
“Maria, Marika” closes out the album as a unique track among the previous nine. Unlike the rest, this song features Balaban on vocals, singing the soft melody in spot-on tone. The use of an acoustic guitar instead of electric also adds depth to the song. Rosenboom maintains his trumpet wizardry as well, while Vossler shines through with the acoustic melody.
Plotz! are a well-trained, well-represented musical group. Mostly instrumental, they let their instruments do all the talking. Whether it’s soloing at the speed of light on guitar, running up and down the sound board on trumpet runs, thundering through space on bass, or laying down a beat to groove to, all four members of Plotz! prove they can not only play, but also write music that carries a message.