The Clunk Orchestra, The Sound It Makes

by Nolan DeBuke

Hailing from Australia, the Clunk Orchestra’s name, derived from the sound it makes, states saxophonist Ron Anderson, has created its own unique sound from the sonic palette of live performances. Their debut disc is a culmination of countless performances and the joy it brought to its listeners.  The Orchestra consist of:  Geoff Spooner – guitar; Ron Anderson – tenor, alto, soprano saxophone; Ben Harmsen – bass; Marek Podstawek – drums and percussion.

“Andrea Dorian,” composed by drummer Podstawek, is the Clunk Orchestra shinning at its best. With a solid 5/4 groove that is energetic, yet clear and grounding, the quartet builds the composition with layers and interesting melodies. Spooner and Anderson work together to create the melodic layers that float above Harmsen and Podstawek’s steady pulse. The composition has an interesting feel and the melody and orchestration changes are sublimely inventive. Anderson’s soprano saxophone takes the first solo. His intonation is spot on as he fills the air with smart flurries and growls. An interlude keeps the interest leading to Spooner ‘s solo, for which he switches his tone to a more aggressive rock sound with warm distortion. His solo builds with taste and musical direction. The band repeats a rhythmic figure as Podstawek fills around the beat, which leads us back to the melody. The Clunk Orchestra has a sound that is fusion, but highly cohesive and musical.

Anderson’s “The Thang” is the other thing that the Clunkers do well and that is funky beats. With Spooner’s swanky guitar sound and the power unit of Harmsen and Podstawek, Anderson plays the bluesy melody with style and swagger. Spooner’s guitar solo is exciting and has nice blend of rock and jazz flavors. Anderson’s solo is on the tenor, his sound is warm and full of passion. They push to the top side of the beat to build energy, but then relax back to the original tempo to settle the feel. The Clunk Orchestra is certainly a working band in which all the players know and understand the musical taste and style of their fellow brothers.

The Sound it Makes certainly is a worthy debut for the Clunk Orchestra, and if this is the sound it makes, they are certainly on a winning path.  A solid offering meant to be a crowd pleaser, a fun disc overall with spinning musicality and a unified sound.

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