Many were the distinctively avant garde touches brought to Led Zeppelin by John Paul Jones – from the ever-shifting time signatures of ‘Black Dog,’ to the eastern tinges on ‘Kashmir’ to the extended live versions of ‘No Quarter,’ which would stretch to include snippets of jazz and classical compositions.
In that way, Minibus Pimps — Jones’ highly improvisational, sometimes completely out-there collaboration with Norwegian producer Helge Sten — fits into a larger career arc. This time, however, Jones is taking his creative flights of fancy even further out to the edges. He had been working with Sten (who goes by Deathprod) together as part of the Supersilent jazz collective for some time; Minibus Pimps, which takes a more electronic bent, grew from there. Now, they’re released a debut album called ‘Cloud to Ground,’ via SusannaSonata, featuring various live experiments in sound.
Jones says these concert recordings capture something special: “It’s one thing to do it inside the studio but the energy you can get in a live situation is quite different,” he tells Quietus. “You go to different places.”
In that way, even if Minibus Pimps ultimately sounds nothing like his work with Led Zeppelin, there remains a strong connection to Jones’ most famous music. “I remember I used to do it with Zeppelin, apart from taking the solos, but there was a point in ‘No Quarter’ where I would go to a piano and literally have not much idea of what I was going to play and I’d just sit down and work out where I was going to go,” Jones adds. “Because what else can you do? I can’t just do nothing so I had to come up with something pretty quick! So I’m used to just doing stuff and Helge’s done that too, especially with Supersilent.”
The inspiration for the Minibus Pimps band name apparently derives from a song by Beijing Sound Unit, featured on the ‘The Sonic Avant Garde’ experimental music compilation.