Josef Woodard
November 15, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

All Heaven Broke Loose

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
genre
Jazz

We gave it an A

On the evocative third album by Earthworks, All Heaven Broke Loose, rock-jazz drummer Bill Bruford, saxophonist Iain Ballamy, and keyboardist Django Bates continue to flirt with jazz, fusion, and ethnic music in an enticingly unpredictable way. By pushing electronics down in the mix and spotlighting Ballamy’s vivid reed sound, Earthworks play up their jazz associations, but the lack of either traditional song structures or extended solos suggests a careful balance of tradition and mischief. Often, as on the oblique ballad ”Forget-Me-Not” and the hymn-like ”Old Song,” fairly simple melodies are tossed, turned, and transformed into hypnotic themes. Biting Miles Davis-ish funk fuels ”Nerve,” and ”Splashing Out” begins as a postdisco vamp before crumbling into a free-jazz dogpile. Heard from start to finish, the album tells an engaging, abstract story, steeped in the spirit of jazz — if not the letter. A

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