Jazz is a music form that is constantly reinventing itself, abetted by the fact that it has always been at once both anti-conventional and a sort of sponge that soaks up and incorporates whatever musical and cultural idioms are fashionable (or not, for that matter) at any given time. Ragtime, bebop, the self-conscious Modernism of the cool movement, Sun Ra-style free jazz and the stylistic near-implosion of the whole damn thing during the 80's, all a function of when and where.

It makes perfect sense then to find Moscow trio Fogh Depot taking their turn in the spotlight with their debut record, S/t, on the Denovali imprint. S/t is a truly postmodern jazz record, aligned to a musical compass ever on the fritz, oscillating wildly between the do-whateverness of Ornette Coleman, the mashed-up noise of On The Corner-era Miles Davis, the gloss of The Cinematic Orchestra, and something something Skinny Puppy. S/t drops you in a weird hybrid digital/analog world, a bit dark and strange and unsure of what it actually is, what it's doing or where it's going, but strangely recognizable as our own.

S/t leads off with shudderingly dark electronic bass drone of "Anticyclone," steadfastly refusing to anchor you into anything that resembles jazz until past the four-minute mark. "Mining (BTC)" -yes, as in Bitcoin- tosses (briefly) a melodic bone amidst a bed of synthesizer pebbles and an understated but insistent beat.


And so it goes through the melancholic beauty of "Nevalyashka," the tightly-clustered flurry of saxophone vamps of "Sagittarius," and the birth of an insane electronic machine in "Orphan Drug" whose unceremonious demise portends a moody Jeff Parker-esque guitar reflection. It's jazz and it's not, it's seeing a sliver of sunlight while trapped in a dark cave, both thoroughly fucked-up and surprisingly beautiful all at once. Sort of like all of us; maybe that's why S/t sits so well on the ears.