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"This is nmperign's second cd"



Greg Kelley: trumpet
Bhob Rainey: soprano saxophone
With Jason Lescalleet: tapeloops
Phil Gelb: shakuhachi
Tatsuya Nakatani: percussion

There is a kind of free improvisation that has much in common with such "composed" music as many of John Cage's performances, and Stockhausen's "Gold dust." If you are familiar with those examples, you might recall that even on recordings, the listener is practically thrown into the room with the players: the sounds of feet shuffling on floors, breaths sucked in, generally quiet instrument noises, and, especially, lots of space, tend to sketch out the space in the minds eye.

Both Kelley and Rainey use extremely intimate attacks on their instruments. There is nary a "normal" instrument sound out of either of them, but instead reams of breathy extended technique. These aren't the techniques you're used to either: nmperign manage to hew the improvisational shrubbery into a garden of unearthly shapes.

It can get a bit claustrophobic, this space that the listener shares with the players. There is the sense that something very serious is going on, despite the chortles and honks that the instruments emit. This probably has something to do with the presence of all that pregnant silence, the long tones, and the hesitant fades-in of each act of silence breaking. When this reviewer saw Kelley, Rainey and Nakatani in concert in '98, the music was so quiet most of the time that it felt a bit awkward to make any sounds from the audience area. The louder sections allowed finally us to breathe.

Speaking of the louder, less spacious sections: Lescallet contributes much of the density on track two. His tape loops are low-fi, high frequency electronic chirpings and gurglings that replace the room sounds on the other tracks. With Rainey twittering along, the recording takes up where the sorely missed Music Improvisation Company left off.

Ironically, on the final track there is an inverse relation between the number of players and how much is going on musically, when Gelb and Nakatani guest star. The group remains safely within "little instruments" territory, as Nakatani largely putters about in his toy box, and the wind players breathe long, if quirky, notes.

All told, nmperign's second cd is worth checking out. Don't expect to breathlessly follow each note with a sense of anticipation, but do expect to admire their inventiveness as players, and their advancement of the quieter wing of improvisors.

                                                    -Wyman Brantley

( tw 1049 )
Twisted Village
12B Eliot Street
Cambridge MA 02138


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