COMA – Ornamental Urban Shrubbery


Standing for California Outside Music Associates, COMA were founded in 1998 as a collective of improvisers from central and northern California. Although the line up changes constantly according to the circumstances, the current team is a trio made of John Vaughn (sax, percussion, theremin), Zone (electric cello, electric bass, percussion) and Dax Compise (percussion). You know, there are occasions in which – whatever the writer’s effort – there’s actually no way to really define what is being played in an album. This is one of those cases, and it’s surely for the better. Despite traces of jazz and contemporary classic, mixtures of R&B riffs and performance art gestural activities, this is free improvisation at its purest, captured warts and all in different settings. Ransacking genres only to fuse them into unpredictable juxtapositions, COMA are happy to displace expectations and provoke seriously head-scratching thoughts, yet their music is also tranquil enough to allow the listeners to do something else while the record spins. Avoiding sophistications or easy shortcuts, the musicians communicate at various levels of intensity without straining nerves, at times opening the windows a little more to a reduced version of grandeur (“Unrepentant regret”), rarely allowing a single instrument to shine, most often sounding like a well-behaved gathering. A puppy who can stay with the family.


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