Reviews of Eyes in the Back of My Head (2008)

"Over the ten years Cosmologic has existed, they've learned not only how to play high level original contemporary improvised music, but have attained a unique style few stable or working groups have attained.... The fearless attitude that this group exhibits in taking chances, yet remaining quite listenable, is a rare thing. Another aspect of Cosmologic is that they can play to younger audiences in the midst of discovery, while also appealing to the 50s-and-older set that craves both the "new wave" of the ‘60s and an updated non-electronic sound. Bravo to Cosmologic for making no compromises, playing some truly fascinating upper echelon progressive jazz music."
- Michael Nastos, All Music Guide. Read the review...

"Free jazz upstarts from San Diego strike a balance between complex form and forceful abandon on their fourth outing.... Thoughtful writing and bold instincts make this a compelling listen."
- Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times. Read the review...

"While the group's strongest antecedents are in free jazz, the composerly emphasis gives it a distinctive character, the pieces often favoring punchy ensembles and contrasting them with unusual moods and textures, including extended techniques.... The band's handling of these compositions is anything but static, making use of turbulent collective improvisations and intensive free blowing in order to both explore and break through the primary moods. It's well-designed and well-executed music that opens in a variety of directions."
- Stuart Broomer, Signal To Noise.

"In today's world of all-star studio sessions and endless collaborative side-projects, longstanding working bands are growing increasingly uncommon. Cosmologic is a splendid example of such a rarefied entity.... Eyes In The Back Of My Head is a richly rewarding statement from a group whose time for greater exposure is long overdue. Accessible yet forward thinking, this is contemporary West Coast jazz at its most heartfelt and adventurous."
- Troy Collins, All About Jazz. Read the review...

"They have been together for almost 10 years... That experience together shows in the extra-fine post-Bop they play so well. These are all originals... and there are many fine duets and ensemble passages here, as Cosmologic seems to be about the group and not the soloists. This doesn't mean there aren't strong solos.... [but] it is their great group sound and cohesiveness that recommends Cosmologic."
- Phillip McNally, Cadence.

"[Cosmologic's] perspicacity and ability to capture the unusual gives their music a rather exceptional focus.... Cosmologic does not let the written note be the guiding light. Their sense of juxtaposition dictates the course. Flow and chaos are consonants in constant flight that are navigated by surprise, and the band documents this consummately, making Eyes In The Back Of My Head a stirring listening experience.""
- Jerry D'Souza, All About Jazz. Read the review...

"Does Cosmologic qualify as an avant-garde jazz ensemble? Not if you regard the genre as a refuge for self-indulgent musicians with a shared taste for cacophony. For all the improvised and willfully discordant music this 10-year old West Coast quartet is capable of producing, and reveling in, Cosmologic produces a sound so rich in mood-shifting maneuvers and sophisticated interplay that it defies labeling. Eyes in the Back of My Head, the band's latest offering, is intriguing enough to keep you guessing from start to finish.... In the end, the album, composed entirely of original music, says as much about Cosmologic's discipline and cohesiveness as it does about its freewheeling spirit."
- Mike Joyce, Washington Post . Read the review...

"Clearly, time spent in a regularly working unit—rare these days—has served the writing and the playing of Cosmologic and its members very well."
- Clifford Allen, All About Jazz. Read the review...

"Extra Special Good: This jazz foursome are still together after more than a decade in a town that kind of ignores them, even though they consistently make some of the most vital and exciting music around. Abundant skills, ethereal communication, wild flights of chaos and sustained moments of fleeting beauty comprise this work of art that takes cues from the approach most often known as free jazz."
- D.A. Kolodenko, CityBeat San Diego. Read the review...

"The musicians mold a singular mindset, which is a component that radiates throughout this starkly inventive and superfine progressive-jazz statement. As a tight-knit and largely expressive unit, they come at you from all angles. It’s a highly-disciplined group, where they also specialize in loose-groove like expansions. Sparked by youthful vigor and a continual reengineering methodology, they fuse unorthodox time signatures with spirited soloing jaunts into the grand schema.... No doubt, this is a band for the new age of jazz. Their charismatic and rather impudent mode of delivery bears the mark of distinction. (Heartily recommended!)"
- Glenn Astarita, Read the review...

"Over the past decade, street-savvy, hard-hitting urban quartet Cosmologic has built it's high-impact, low-comfort-zone approach to groupwork that recalls Anthony Braxton's small-band intelligence and The Fringe's raw energy. The California-based band enjoys bumypy textures, aggressive stances, loose-wheeled (if not off-track) soloing and equal voices for horn and rhythm players..."
- Fred Bouchard, All About Jazz New York. Read the review...

There are groups that, despite playing materials whose roots are firmly planted in the grounds of definite genres, defy an easy tagging due to a multiplicity of motives.... Cosmologic... is precisely one of those units. [Eyes In The Back of My Head] positively stands on a jazz pedestal yet the junctures in which they don’t sound like that are countless, the exploitation of a vastly proficient improvisational sagacity shifting the solidity of the interplay more towards a coordinated kind of self-government than run-of-the-mill structures, with allowances to vamp-based vigorous drive.... A methodologically prominent record, indubitably rewarding for educated ears."
- Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes (blog). Read the review...

"Eyes in the Back of My Head is a densely rich album that focuses on the idea of exuberance from its opening.... The compositions of Cosmologic exhibit a rare maturity that re-gild the emblem of a modern jazz that, each day, searches to redefine itself."
- Guts Of Darkness (France). Read the review...

"The prestigious label Cuneiform could hopefully bring to Cosmologic, with this new release, much deserved greater noteriety for the San Diego-based quartet, which has succeeded in producing better interpretations of free-jazz in a new and and updated way, filled with new and innovative meanings. The point of departure is always the composition, with well defined themes that provide a strong foundation for discipline and coherent improvisations that work well within the songs' architecture.."
- Enrico Ramunni, Rockerilla magazine (Italy).

"Omdat de bezetting al die jaren onveranderd is gebleven, hebben de vier bandleden een manier van samen spelen kunnen uitdiepen die zeldzaam empatisch is. Cosmologic geeft bovendien een fris vervolg aan de rijke traditie van vrij geïmproviseerde muziek.... Intelligente muziek met schwung en humor gebracht.....
- Mischa Andriessen, Jazzeno (Netherlands). Read the review...

"In conclusione, uno di quei cento ottimi gruppi che dimonstrano quanto il jazz sia ancora lontano dall morte, e che bisognerebbe sentire piu spesso anche dal vivo invece di cascare continuamente sui 'soliti noti.'"
- Sessa, MusicaJazz (Italy).

"Il quartetto californiano Cosmologic, capitanato dal tenorsassofonista Jason Robinson (con Michael Dessen al trombone, Scott Walton al basso e Nathan Hubbard alla batteria), vanta un’attività decennale e giunge con ‘Eyes In The Back Of My Head’ al suo quarto saggio discografico. E ci arriva bene, come meglio non si potrebbe. Nell’ipertrofica produzione musicale jazzistica d’oggi, infatti, i dischi veramente buoni continuano ad essere non moltissimi, e ‘Eyes’, con le sue otto tracce, è indubbiamente uno di questi. Non è un lavoro ostico, al contrario è un disco di free sostanzialmente pacato ed accessibile anche ai non adepti, con riff riconoscibili e cantabili (molto belli i fraseggi e gli unisoni dei fiati), il sostegno creativo della sezione ritmica ed assoli ben calibrati nei quali il fuoco è sapientemente dosato nella cangiante intensità dell’architettura sonora."
- Paolo Cruciani, Kathodik (Italy).Read the review...


Reviews of III (2005)

Cosmologic music is initiated by individual members and then doggedly worked and reworked until its internal logics are available for genuinely creative improvisation.... More than impressive.
- Brian Morton, The Wire

The third and newest album by this talent-rich San Diego quartet is a gem of crisp ensemble-playing and finely calibrated improvisations...
- George Varga, San Diego Union Tribune. Read the review...

III doesn’t so much stand as a document of the history of jazz as a brochure for the infinite varieties of modern improvisation.... Incredibly rewarding... Sure, it takes a little work but, for every cerebral exercise the listener is required to work through, there’s a funky-as-all-hell payoff.
- Daniel Spicer, One Final Note. Read the review...

Un disque solide qui participe à revélér quelques-uns des meilleurs instrumentalistes de la côte ouest américaine. (A solid disc [III] that reveals some of the best West Coast instrumentalists.)
- JazzoSphere


Reviews of live performances

... The most exhilarating band performance of the entire five days [of the Guelph Jazz Festival]... At times showing a deep fascination with Dave Holland's rhythmic structures and counterpoint improvisations, at times going far further outside, suspending harmony and rhythm entirely, Cosmologic covered a wide range, from intense grooves to raspy textures.... Cosmologic, it seems safe to predict, has wider attention awaiting it in the future.
- Johannes Völz, Musicworks.
Read the review...

Cosmologic made an impact with their hard hitting attack....Original compositions became the gateway for explosive interpretations that kept the pot boiling at intense heat throughout the set.
- Frank Rubolino, Cadence

Cosmologic raised the bar for strength early in the [Guelph Jazz] festival.
- Exclaim!, Nilan Perera

Totalmente lleno se registro el recinto para ver a los musicos, quienes actuaron bajo un ambiente tranquilo y placentero repleto de bohemia que contrasto con su jazz vanguardista lleno de energia...
- El Mexicano

Zelden heb ik een ad-hoc formatie zo beheerst en geconcentreerd horen en zien spelen. Uit een schijnbaar minimaal gegeven werden suiteachtige muziekstukken gecreëerd. Prachtig opgebouwd met soloruimtes voor eenieder en - in de collectieven - een alert luisteren en reageren op elkaar.
- Jazz En Meer, Jacques Los


Press for earlier releases

Intense peaks of clamorous excitement... Near-spiritual communication... The group dynamics of Cosmologic are in full effect, and the music is commanding. As a unit, these four musicians click.
- Cadence

It’s a charge when a record immediately makes me say, "Oh yeah," and then maintains the level... Cosmologic embodies every value that hooked me on improvised music....
- Los Angeles Weekly

With motivated and talented young musicians of this calibre, there's no doubt that jazz can be a creative force. Long gone are the days when things West Coast were considered pallid in relation to anything East Coast, and for any of the doubters out there, here's the proof positive.
- Coda

Wildly spontaneous... Fascinating...
- Los Angeles Times

Forget commercial labeling, this is real contemporary jazz.
- Jazz Weekly

Forget what you think you know about San Diegan music.... these guys wail, play taut ensemble charts, float freely, and generally give West Coast post-free jazz a good name.
- Santa Barbara Independent

Just plain good music...having sizable stylistic debts to post-bop and free jazz masters, but sending out a force of expression which end up in places that transcend genre.
- San Diego New Music Newsletter