Hildegard, Hildegard (Independent)

Hildegard, the new Sasha Masakowski/Cliff Hines led project, comes out of gigs at Gasa Gasa in a series Maskakowski organized called “Progression.” The songs have a lot of prog, as in prog rock, in them, as well as arty experiments. There are tempo changes and unorthodox time signatures.

Hines’ guitar ranges through a variety of sounds, from light strumming to bombastic chords to frenzied shredding, even using a voice box in “Austria” (Think Frampton Comes Alive, but that’s the only similarity between that record and this one.) He does a great job of juxtaposing different textures and riffs against each other. The whole band conjures up some wild and processed tones that put the songs in a sound world all their own.

What unifies the record is Masakowski’s voice and the rhythms. Although cloaked in effects, Masakowski’s voice is still recognizable in its lightness on “Siren Song” and the way it swoops its way around a melody on “Karma.” And beneath the density of the music there is some of the Brazilian and subtle Latin rhythms for which Masakowki is known.

But rather than a jazz record, this is a club record, a record that has both loud dance tracks and more mellow, kick-back-on-the-cushions music. This is music that demands big speakers and open spaces to appreciate it properly.

Hildegard might be a leap for those who simply think of Hines as rock guitarist and Masakowksi as a jazz/Brasilian singer, but it is a leap they make successfully.