With a foothold in Chicago blues and traditional jazz, Delmark Records could have stayed in their comfort zone, but as Chicago became a center of avant-garde jazz experimentation, Delmark decided to chronicle the new music, despite its controversy and lack of a mass following. Even more to their credit, Delmark has continued to support experimental jazz from the 1960’s until now. Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra is merely the latest group of experimenters on the label. On their debut album Stars Have Shapes, the fourteen musicians proceed through snatches of melody set against stark and bizarre backdrops of percussion and “found materials”, from recordings of electric eels, tone generators and feedback. The resulting shimmering landscapes are occasionally beautiful, often bewildering, but never without interest. The final “Impression #1” is the only tune to inhabit a familiar location, having been based off of the jazz standard “Footprints”. But like everything else on Stars Have Shapes, the well-known bassline and chord progressions have been distorted and transcended into something completely new and unpredictable. With Stars Have Shapes, Rob Mazurek has challenged the boundaries of jazz. 

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