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The best kept secret in music



Mark Guilianas work in Avishai Cohens trio has more than demonstrated his rhythmic wit and precision in a consistently demanding musical setting. The drummer takes on the bandleader role with his new trio Heernt, whose debut, Locked in a Basement, reveals a sonic concept unlike Cohens--and to Guilianas credit, unlike anyones.

This is groove-based, goofily virtuosic electric instrumental music that owes much more to electronica, synth-funk and indie rock than it does to traditional acoustic jazz. Lets simplify for the sake of space and say Guiliana plays drums, Neal Persiani plays electric bass and Zac Colwell plays saxes and gloriously analog Juno-60 synth; but in truth, everyone--especially Colwell--plays a variety of other instruments.

Persiani and Guiliana are a dauntingly effective rhythmic duo, and these are essentially rhythm-driven pieces. Persianis unerring, visceral bass lines partner perfectly with the leaders busier kit work on pieces that remain entertainingly fun no matter how trickily mined they may be with time changes and precision stop-starts. The title track starts with Guilianas typewriter percussion (an electric one, natch) and morphs into a crisp, electronica-derived unison bass and synth over an airy drumkit groove--that description, by the way, does nothing to convey how unusually entertaining the song is.

"Nice." is bracing, minimalist funk that generates a rubbery tension by pitting Colwells robot keyboard phrases against a mathematically shifting drum/bass pattern that cleverly nudges the songs actual beat thither and yon. "Sea Urchin. See Urchin Run" has wonderful, warbling synth from Colwell over lockstep electric bass and tight, nervous kit work from the leader--if Devo had chops, theyd sound like this.

Most of the pieces are marked by a cohesive, mature band sound. The floating, static flute/sax lines and wet cymbals of the sweetly somber "Aaaahh.." and the dubby bass and surreal, coffee-meets-marijuana momentum groove of "Quick Groove Rolling" couldnt be less alike, but they both sound like Heernt.

Overall, a great new band. Good though the record is, I imagine the group tops it in performance. - Paul Olson


HEERNT - Locked In A Basement
album review by Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks)

Phew! The future of music is safe after all. This is the most exuberant, dramatic, beautiful, sassy, genre-busting little outing that I've heard since I don't know when. This is the record I wish I'd made, but I don't have the energy, talent, stamina and sheer guts that these young ankle-biters do. I hear no marketing consultant or computer ticking away; I only hear the sound of three guys who seem to have so completely absorbed and then spun off from the lessons of the masters that it almost hurts. The technical ability is frightening, but its not on show. If the art is to conceal the art, they conceal it well.

Its an episodic instrumental concept album of such frightening accomplishment and overwhelming joy in music-making that it quickens the pulse; makes you feel light-headed. It is a complete work of imagination from which it is invidious to pull individual tracks. Generally the material is heavily rhythmic as you might expect from a drummer-led outing, but the gorgeous, slower music of "Brawling on Epic Landforms" and "Aaaahh.." indicate a rich mine of musicality within colleagues Zac Colwell and Neal Persiani that broadens and leavens the rhythmic intensity.

And this is before I've even mentioned the drummer and producer, Mark Guiliana. He's been riveting audiences inter-continentally with his contribution to the Avishai Cohen group, and what he does on his own is even more frightening, if that's possible. Never mind his uptempo stuff, its his slow tempos that will scare you to death. He possesses the speed, poise, cunning, agility, and complete absence of self-doubt that had to be there to make this record. No more, no less. He could out speed-metal all speed-metallers, and he could out improvise all improvisors. He could out-funk most of the southern hemisphere, and he could out rock all the big-hair heavy-rockers in L.A., but yet he chooses to do none of these things. Its an effortless stew of all the above, all absorbed, shaken and stirred, and then made completely his own.

In my experience, the minute you make a decent CD the customer usually says "Great! When's the next one?" as if the mere production of the work by the artist, rather than the absorption of it by the listener, is the yard-stick that determine when "the next one" should be created. Maybe Heernt will never make another record; if so, they will have contributed more to modern non-conservatoire instrumental playing than most bands contribute in a life-time. I hope a follow-up is none too soon, because there are endless treasures to be found under the rocks on this particular seashore.

Quite the most brilliant record you're going to hear for the foreseeable future, so I recommend immediate purchase. For drummers, its simply compulsory. - Bill Bruford


"The jazz is modern but not in an easy listening, soft jazz sort of way. It’s electronic and experimental. It’s unique and refreshing. It is jazz for the next generation of jazz lovers.If there is only one jazz album you check out this year, or even this lifetime, make it Locked in a Basement by Heernt!" - fense


"HEERNT is a slick, burning electrofunk trio" - time out nyc


"Locked In A Basement"
the debut record on razdaz/sunnyside
available in stores ,on itunes, and at heernt.com

HEERNT has six singles currently getting college and xm satellite radio airplay:
Locked In A Basement- Nice-Pi=3.1415- Sea Urchin, See Urchin Run-quick groove rolling-Brawling On Epic Landforms


Feeling a bit camera shy


HEERNT is a band moved by art, motivated by adventure, and defined only by their gravity towards important music. Combining the most powerful elements of jazz, indie rock, and electronic music, HEERNT has loosely coined it's sound "experimental garage jazz", yet these words breathe separate meanings. Experimental references the onstage tv, dual samplers, and original art installations that spout film, words and images unique to each song . Garage pays tribute to the homespun spirit in which the music is conceived, and the rock and roll abandon in which it is performed. Jazz simply means that improvisation is ever-present, and that spontaneity is paramount. HEERNT's fresh approach to song writing is as unique as it is endearing, exuding both an unrivaled energy and a strong power of story. Perhaps the New York band's finest quality is it's dedication to the balance between chaos and order, or dirty and clean. Such a focus ensures that both the rebel and the nerd will be moved by HEERNT's artistic, adventurous, and important music.