Wednesday 3 January 2024

'Exploitation Suite' by Roger Lin

'Exploitation Suite' marks the new album release from the Taipei-born and Brooklyn-based guitarist and composer, Roger Lin.

Having established himself as a formidable talent in Taiwan, clocking up numerous awards, accolades and distinctions, Lin graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston before ultimately moving to New York.  And as quickly as that, Lin found himself starting to delve deep within the city's highly revered scene - a frequent performer, the guitarist also secured touring duties alongside bassist Marcelo Maccagnan and continues to rack up collaborations with like-minded musicians.

Lin's current release serves as something of an open letter to New York employing his own immeasurable talents to express his affections for the city and commemorating the time spent cultivating his burgeoning career.

One of the most captivating aspects of 'Exploitation Suite' is the wholly distinctive and unique perception of its architect - while Lin himself has now set up roots in Brooklyn, much of the music rewards his obvious affections for what is surely one of the world's authentic hubs for progressive and innovative jazz.  While the album seeks to celebrate New York in that context, however, Lin is also afforded the ability to regard the city and its associated scene within an honest and objective light as well.

Which is, incredibly, only half of the story and what makes Lin's perspective so invaluable.  

As his name continues to garner attention in New York as a frequent performer and collaborator, the guitarist also continues to maintain and cultivate his name within Taiwan visiting and performing there frequently.  Having the ability to immerse yourself into these two contrasting environments would surely prove to be a real gift for an artist who embraces the concept of continued learning and self-improvement as a compulsory part of their own evolution.  Having already proved to be a highly acclaimed and decorated musician, Lin's commitment to his own story will surely ensure his name continues to reach inconceivable heights.

Recorded in Brooklyn using two ensembles, 'Exploitation Suite' pairs Lin's guitar and compositions alongside the brilliance of bassist Isaac Levien, saxophonist Chaz Martineau and drummer Quinton Cain, with three of the album's nine tracks featuring the inclusion of pianist Moshe Elmakias, bassist Simón Willson and drummer Willis Edmundson.  Initially drawn to music via the piano, Lin's compositions adopt an immersive and all-encompassing approach which really allows all the artists to genuinely shine throughout the album. 

A trio of captivating Exploitation Suites are sprinkled throughout the album serving as the project's centrepiece but sharing highlight duties with some wonderful pieces like 'Shore on the Other Side' and 'Strengths and Insecurities'.  The tongue-in-cheek 'Sneaky Bastards' displays some real personality while others captivate through elegant and sublime performances.

'Exploitation Suite' delivers as a fascinating listen with Roger Lin navigating an engaging and enthralling course.

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