Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thom Gossage Other Voices Songlines 2012

Musical abstraction created from a single point of inspiration. Not an easy trick to pull off especially for the compositional challenged or those that may find themselves mired in theory that they will never come close to understanding. There is a line from Caddy Shack that sums this up well: "Be the ball Noonan." 

Essentially the same lineup since 2005 charting an undefinable musical course while working with a sonic safety net of any kinds. Is this avant-gard jazz or simply the musical by-product of a musical collective that has such an intuitive trust in the other that the seemingly unconventional is oddly the musical common place from their sonic perspective. As is similar of most ensembles that walk the free jazz tightrope there is a wealth of expereince drawn from a myriad of influences. However instead of putting the everything but the kitchen sink mentality into a composition, Gossage pulls back into a more melodic minimalism that allows influences to move the music but never at the sake of overwhelming the sonic path the tune is attempting to develop. A harmonious if not synergistic less is more approach while finding an elusive middle ground of accessibility to introduce to a wider audience. "Id Est" ( In Other Words ) opens the at times more harder edge that weaves its way in, out and around other tunes much like that anxious individual in desperate need of his or her morning caffeine fix. While a sonic edge permeates certain tunes there is a harmonious layering of melodies that work to build to a musical anti-climax with all things not as they seem. The tenor saxophone of Frank Lozano and Remi Bolduc conduct their own private conversations, the yen to the others musical yang. "Hic et Ubique: (Here and Now) allow a continuance of odd metered purpose, lyrical nuances that does not lay beneath the surface as a subtle addition but a dynamic nuances that is thematic in concept allowing the entire ensemble to build their musical thoughts around a specific frame of reference.  

Meditations of a caffeine fueled and stress riddled brain. Musician or not, who has not been there?

In Other Words is a dual assault on the sonic senses from both the visceral and cerebral fronts with multiple melodic layers on tension built around the individual which includes the listener as well. An intriguing collection of organic opposites that requires multiple listening not to "get it" but to cleanse the sonic palette to the point that the journey taken is unencumbered by any other sonic detours one may encounter along the way. While there is indeed a multi-layered melodic approach to tunes that float aimless outside the box, there is a stark minimalism that allows the overlapping melodies to create a harmonic dissonance by design.

A release that is not one to expect to "get" in one take but an experience well worth the effort!

Track Listing: Id Est (In Other Words); Hic et Ubique (Here and Now); Counter Counter Clockwise; Ab Infra Prologue; Ab Infra (From Within); Inari; Your Number(s); Chemins II; Tom Arthur's Dinner.

Personnel: Steve Raegele, guitar; Miles Perkin, bass; Thom Gossage, drums, electronics, percussion; Frank Lozano, tenor and soprano saxophone; RĂ©mi Bolduc, alto saxophone.