Thursday, July 20, 2017

MiND GAMeS - Ephemera Obscura (CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2017)

Here is a quartet committed to contrast conventional and unconventional approaches to composition and improvisation. Complex time signatures and intricate notated materials coexist with spontaneous sonic explorations, both timbral and chromatic. The textures and figures are harmonically rich, full of details and with simultaneous organic effects – crude, primal, atmospheric, and dramatic.

Angelika Niescier, Denman Maroney, James Ilgenfritz and Andrew Drury combine the best of two worlds: the cerebral and the sensitive, always changing roles. For instance: the piano and the drumset are played in the familiar way but also with unique approaches: Maroney with the help of objects placed on the interior strings (this way justifying the name “hyperpiano”) and Drury using his breath and found objects to produce pitch and sustained tones that aren’t really percussive at all.

Usually, it’s impossible to distinguish the origins of the produced sounds. Ilgenfritz’s double bass bridges the shifting colors of the rhythm / harmonic section of the band with the melodic/noise content of Niescier’s sax, sometimes positioning itself on one side, using a percussive attack, or choosing the other to reinforce the lines with some arco work. These permanent changes between the recognizable and the unexpected open the music to any eventuality and make the audition of “Ephemera Obscura” an adventure. Mind games indeed, but making the hair of your arms react before your brain acknowledges what’s happening.

1. Harkinsish 6:38
2. Selonica 6:13
3. Strip Mind 6:05
4. Heterosemica 9:29
5. Ephemera Obscura 6:58
6. Imprint 2 17:07
7. Ballard Compound 7:24
8. Core Text 6:59

Angelika Niescier  alto saxophone
Denman Maroney  hyperpiano
James Ilgenfritz  contrabass
Andrew Drury  percussion

Available on Amazon