Berne says: "I'd decided on this very transparent instrumentation to try and avoid obvious stylistic references and to focus the listener on the musical ideas being presented." The album is an exemplary manifestation of his compositional directions. Berne's exacting pieces propel the players down maze-like corridors, with new challenges looming around every corner: startling textural shifts, serpentine melodies, sudden rhythmic displacements, modular grooves that gradually attain an unstoppable momentum. Written and improvised sequences blur into each other, overlap, run parallel.
It's an arresting collective sound, from a disciplined crew: two years of workshopping and woodshedding preceded the recording - at New York's Avatar Studios early in 2011 - to reach what Berne calls "the necessary 'looseness' essential for a group identity", and to realize "the dynamics that would enable the sonic details of this chamber-like band to emerge clearly." He describes the processes of preparing the project as "similar to how one would approach a classical recording", yet the outcome is as far outside the genres as any of his work.
Personnel: Tim Berne (alto saxophone), Oscar Noriega (Bflat and bass clarinets), Matt Mitchell (piano), Ches Smith (drums, percussion)
- Simple City
- Spare Parts
- Not Sure
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