FME make a rare appearance at the NOW Lounge Saturday (September 24). Rating: NNNN
Of all multi-reed ripper Ken Vandermark's many recording/performing projects, the Free Music Ensemble, which involves upright bassist Nate McBride and drum-basher extraordinaire Paal Nilssen-Love, is probably the closest he's ever come to having his own punk rock group. The skronky honking Cuts disc lives up to that sonic threat. For a guitarless acoustic three-piece of jazz improvisers, FME kick up a mighty blast that could probably drown out a fully amped metal band. There's no excessive bluster, no wanking at all. In fact, there's not a wasted note, as they make wise use of space to ratchet up the tension for their next onslaught. Awesome.