[AVANT WORLD JAZZ] After the lonely, shakuhachi-like flute of "Korean Blues," the opening track of Cartridge's Black Heron and the Spoonbill, the second track, "Murphy's Hook," rudely and joyously intrudes with a crunchy electric-guitar hook and percussion-propelled, off-kilter jig. The effect is like your drunken roommate barging into your early-morning meditation session.
That's the kind of mood-swinging that animates this atmospheric new release by the nonpareil Portland improvising flutist John C. Savage and percussionist and producer Will Northlich-Redmond. Their diverse backgrounds inspired the album's title ("the special symbiosis that exists between these two birds that eat different foods but hunt in the same marshy habitat," the release notes explain) and its varied instrumentation: flutes, saxophones, guitar, drums, ambient electronics and voices. The duo's wide-ranging jazz and world music experiences inform the Afro-jazz feel of "Lulla Shaker" and "Yadumu," which starts off nodding toward Brian Eno-style ambience before gradually coalescing from the swirl.
Somehow it all blends beautifully into more ambient tracks like "Flight to Prism Expanse," in which fluttering drums, chirping flute, shimmering guitars and recessed voices eventually fade into the ether. The aptly titled coda, "Afterthought," sets the music against a poem by Claudia F. Savage, "A Circle Inside a Circle Inside," whose title captures the feel of the album's carefully layered soundscapes.
SEE IT: Cartridge plays Turn Turn Turn, 8 NE Killingsworth St., with Mike Gamble, on Wednesday, June 17. 8- pm. $5--$15 sliding scale. All ages.