blink. is a Chicago-based musical collective steeped in jazz, rock, electronica, and free improvisation featuring bassist Jeff Greene, guitarist Dave Miller, saxophonist Greg Ward, and drummer Quin Kirchner.
On blink.’s debut, The Epidemic of Ideas, the band emphasized improvisation, whereas on their sophomore album, The Architects, they come from a very different place. As the title suggests, it’s an intricately constructed statement, the product of extensive composing and countless hours of rehearsals, performances, and studio time. It features a narrative arc punctuated by numerous recurring themes, melodies, and chord progressions that unfold over the course of the album.
Highlights include “Protect from Light”, parts I and II, which bookend the album and feature looped electronic samples and a reprise of the central melodic theme. “Align Your Planets” is an energetic — and, at times, unhinged — song that features the guitar and sax playfully exchanging riffs, only to be reeled in by the rhythm section before building into a noisy, no wave-y climax. “How to Rest in Peace” closes out side A with a dreamy slice of ambient-jazz featuring sparse vocals that hint at what’s to come.
Side B opens with “The Secret Life of Quiz Shows”, a song that features an angelic choir of voices and stands out as a decidedly non-“jazz” track that could easily be at home on a Greg Davis or Stars of the Lid album. “I Will Save the Day (II)” briefly returns to no wave territory before coming full circle when its looping bass line reappears deep in the mix. The Architects is an adventurous album that, like it’s predecessor, features a band with no shortage of ideas.
Jeff Greene: basses, samples, compositions
Greg Ward: alto saxophone, keys
Dave Miller: guitar, keys
Quin Kirchner: drums, percussion
The choir: Sean Archer, Leslie Beukelman, Amanda Crumley, Carl Glick, Mariama Torruella
Recorded by Manny Sanchez
Mixed by Manny Sanchez, Chris Harden and Jeff Greene
Additional engineering by Rollin Weary and Shane Hendrickson
Mastered by Ed Tinley
Artwork by Matt Maxwell
All compositions by Jeff Greene (My Secret Weapon Music)