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The Flying Luttenbachers



The Flying Luttenbachers sound like a swarm of angry epileptic insects descending into a garbage disposal or a horror movie soundtrack that's been dissected and randomly rearranged by a monkey. Torrents of percussion obliterate any traditional sense of rhythm while frenetic saxophone squawks and thrumming bass attack contrived musical tropes with vicious energy. To call this "free jazz" is hardly descriptive enough. This is pounding, painful, exhilarating music that's brimming with sneering punk attitude and unbridled experimental spirit. It's dark, raw, angry, and impossible to ignore.

The Flying Luttenbachers' roots stretch back to 1991, when an 18-year-old free jazz fanatic/multi-instrumentalist named Walter Weasel started to play music with an Art Institute of Chicago student named Bill Pisarri as the Sound Improvisation Collective. In December 1991, the two recruited acclaimed saxophonist Harold Russell and became The Flying Luttenbachers in honor of Russell's given last name.

This lineup lasted for a scant seven months. Russell left The Flying Luttenbachers in July, 1992, beginning a revolving-door membership with different lineups and instrumental combinations appearing on nearly every single record. Past members include reedist Ken Vandermark, bassist Jeb Bishop, and Mr. Quintron. The Flying Luttenbachers' history could hardly be called "smooth." At one point, Weasel Walter even dismissed all the other band members when he became disappointed with the group's dynamics. But he always carried on, recruiting new cohorts, writing more songs, playing more live shows, and constantly seeking to break new boundaries and to push himself a little bit further artistically.

"De Futura" is a cover of a song by the cult '70s prog band Magma. It appears on the seventh Flying Luttenbachers album, 1998's "...The Truth Is a Fucking Lie" EP (Skin Graft). Part jazz-funk explosion, part dizzying horn scree, and part vicious aural assault, the piece is performed by Weasel Walter on drums and trumpets, Kurt Johnson on bass guitar, and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello. The result is somewhere between a pit bull attack and a psychotic break, simultaneously eerie and enthralling.