Ears Wide Openby Roger Young / 14.12.2009
“We just want to open up some ears,” says Lee Thompson near the end of Closet Snare’s Wednesday night set at the Assembly, the seated contingent on the chairs in front of the stage nod and clap in assent, as do the people standing and gently bopping on the sidelines. Therein lies the dilemma of Closet Snare; it is music that is danceable but performed by musicians so skilled that you feel like you should respect them by watching their every sneaky move. Sneaky because in snatches you could quite easily be lulled into thinking you were listening to some sort of Café Del Mar for watching skateboarding to, until one of the sneaky jazzmeisters drops a riff or beat on you so elegantly and effortlessly complex that you have to sorta reassess what it is you are hearing.
With Kesivan Naidoo on drums, Shane Cooper on Bass and Mr. Sakitumi on “machines” Closet Snare have a solid and polished rhythmic backbone that allows for all sorts of playfulness, the essential “problem” with Closet Snare, they are so technically good and so artfully playful that its hard to pin them down. If anything they exist in that laid back enough to be actually cool, but, “on it” enough to be engaging without showing off paradigm.
It’s an electro jazz fusion vibe that is not, as that definition might imply, up it’s own ass but rather shaking it. If there is any one thing wrong with Closet Snare it is that because it’s not quite music to dance to and not quite music to watch, as an audience member you get to feeling a little spare. The excellent visuals, like the music, have a meandering quality that leaves one not entirely sure of how to process them. In all Closet Snare are never quite more than the sum of their parts but because the parts themselves are so excellent, so flawless this doesn’t seem to entirely matter.
In the end Thompson’s wish is fulfilled, Closet Snare open ears to the possibility that music doesn’t have to be one thing at a time, it can be something to watch, something to dance to, something to take you on a journey. And they do it all in an unconsciously free form way that just takes me to a happy place.