Sinister Resonance got its name from a piece by the convention-busting 20th century composer Henry Cowell, so it's not surprising that this Madison-based quartet eschews genre labels. And like Cowell, the group sometimes uses instruments in ways the owner's manual didn't cover.
The band celebrates the release of its Summit Records CD They Said… with a show at the High Noon Saloon on March 16, sharing the bill with Nuggernaut and Fringe Character.
Sinister Resonance is led by UW trombone professor Mark Hetzler. His bandmates include some of the hardest-working musicians in town -- pianist Vince Fuh, bassist Nick Moran and percussionist Todd Hammes -- who collectively have feet solidly planted in the local classical, jazz, Latin, funk and world music scenes. In addition to the song they named themselves after and the text-based title track, the CD includes two original compositions by Hetzler, one by Hammes and covers of material by the likes of Nels Cline (who was named 82nd greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone), the Dub Trio and David Torn.
They Said… is largely improvisational and employs an adventurous sound palette (including distorted trombone and the sounds you get by mucking around in the piano's innards), but folks who tend to shy away from "experimental" music need not be afraid. Sinister Resonance sprinkle in plenty of accessible rock grooves, and much of their music is downright melodic.