MUMEx Duo’s latest set of studio recordings, titled Heat the Silent, consists of songs like the noisy but endearing “Heat the Silent” and the synthetic fusion offering “Joe’s Island.” It emits colorful tones in “Thelonious” and abstract groove-driven swagger in “Beyond the Eight Door.” We find an unspoken darkness amidst the foggy melodies of “Variazione Senza Fine” and succumb to the pressurized harmony of “Variations on ‘Estate’” whether we resist it or not.
The band gives us everything that they’ve got in these tracks, whether it be pulsating rhythm ala “Thelonious” or blushing string mysticisms like those of “When All the People Are Sleeping,” and though Heat the Silent doesn’t necessarily change the narrative for this group, it definitely demonstrates just how much they’ve grown since the release of their debut EP. MUMEx Duo gives up a unique take on contemporary jazz in this album, and regardless of whether or not you’ve heard their amazing music before, this is a record that belongs on your stereo this fall just the same. It’s emotional, introspective, and thoroughly ripping even in its most peaceful of ballads.
The second half of Heat the Silent feels a little more off the cuff than the first does, and I think that the album was designed to allow us the opportunity to see just how wide a range of talents this band actually possesses. The discord of “Variations on ‘Estate’,” “Variazione Senza Fine” and “Heat the Silent” finds an equilibrium within the melodies of “Joe’s Island,” “Thelonious” and “Beyond the Eight Door,” and although there are some really loud and proud climaxes laced in throughout the tracklist, they’re never so aggressive that we feel smothered by the sonic weight of the music.
American jazz, both mainstream and independent, has been steadily getting more and more abstract as the 2020s have gone on, and now that we’re staring down at the next chapter in the history of this storied genre, it should come as no surprise to anyone with an ear for good music that a band like Mumex Duo is making an LP like this one. Here, they’re dissenting against the very nature of scene politics and archaic genre parameters that no longer suit the sound that they’re trying to produce; Heat the Silent is a shedding of skin, and what it exposes to us is a group that isn’t redefining their own identity as much as they are the personality of their style.
If there’s one album that audiophiles need to get their hands on this year, it’s MUMEx Duo’s Heat the Silent, which is – in my opinion – the most complete record that this scene has offered in a while. The indie music media has fallen in love with this three-piece, and it doesn’t take much more than a casual examination of their new LP to learn precisely why. They’re making the sort of uncorrupted, shamelessly experimental jazz that we need right now more than ever before, and whether their fan base extends to the mainstream market in the wake of this release or not, I think it’s safe to say that their reputation as one of the best groups actively recording today has been solidified beyond debate thanks to the caliber of the content we hear on Heat the Silent.