The “jam” is one of those musical devices that walks a delicately drawn fine line. On one side are classics like Can’s “Halleluwah” or The Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray,” both of which are defined by an embrace of improvisation, interplay and gradual evolution that keep the song fresh throughout a roughly 20-minute run time. But on the other side, you have endless journeys of gratuitous musical masturbation that create a significant imbalance of enjoyment between the players and their audience. Walking this line is obviously difficult; though defined by higher tier musicianship, an effective jam band can’t venerate their abilities as musicians at the expense of songcraft, particularly in terms of defining the genres and styles from which the extended composition is being drawn out of. All of this makes it that much more impressive that Mother Engine have not only mastered the “jam” formula, but excelled at replicating that equation fourfold on their third full-length outing Hangar, which we’re stoked to be able to premiere for you in full.
Bad news, everyone. The Mars Volta has called it quits.