“No Steps Left To Trace” is the album title of super-group PAKT’s latest musical offering and showcases the instrumental quartet further defying simple classification. With one part jazz, one part ambient, one part progressive rock fare, and the remainder wholly unidentifiable, this may be the sleeper critic’s choice of 2024.
For those not privy just yet, the PACT musical collective features bassist Percy Jones (Brand X, Brian Eno, David Sylvian, Suzanne Vega), guitarist Alex Skolnick (Testament, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), drummer Kenny Grohowski (John Zorn, Secret Chiefs 3, Imperial Triumphant), and guitarist Tim Motzer (Bandit65, Jaki Liebezeit, Ursula Rucker, Jamaaladeen Tacuma).
And while their brand new album doesn’t technically come out on all formats (CD, vinyl, digital) until March 1, the band is dishing out some heady streams on their Bandcamp page. The group also released a spectacular self-titled album back in July 2021, in addition to making numerous recordings of different live shows on the East Coast and more via MoonJune Records.
With songs like the fabulous “Solar Myth” clocking in at over 22 minutes in length, it would appear the quartet’s members clearly aren’t limiting themselves by time constraints in order to bring the listener in. Highlights of the forthcoming album also include “The Ghost Mills,” “Spontaneous Combustion,” and “On The Other Side, Part 1,” all of which clock in at 9 minutes and up without sounding dated or derivative when compared to other specialty jazz groups.
Given the busier-than-normal touring schedules of Grohowski and Bay Area metal guitar great Skolnick, PAKT shows are far fewer these days. Thankfully, the group’s current run of shows started on February 1 in Seattle and will stop in Mill Valley before finally ending in Phoenix on February 13. Expect to see a hodgepodge of fans wearing heavy metal t-shirts and an older and sophisticated contingent who follow Jones and Motzer’s other projects. You only get one chance to see this configuration at this Mill Valley venue, so make your travel plans now and get a ticket before it’s ultimately too late.
PAKT and Mongolian sextet Tsadig will perform together on Thursday, February 8, at the Sweetwater Music Hall located at 19 Corte Madera Avenue in Mill Valley. Doors open at 7 pm, and the show kicks off at 8 pm. Tickets are $25 in advance and can be purchased at www.sweetwatermusichall.com. All ages are welcome.