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gasps & fissures
Paris Transatlantic
Dan Warburton
It's been several years since Kyle Bruckmann's debut solo album entymology appeared on the Barely Auditable imprint he co-runs with fellow reed virtuoso Scott Rosenberg, though a careful reading of the liners here reveals that these six tracks were recorded back in 2001. Not that Bruckmann's music has somehow gone "out of date" in the meantime, but he has been continuing to perfect his technique on the double reed instruments - oboe, cor anglais, suona and mijwiz - and has also moved from Chicago out to the Bay Area (though you're probably not very interested in this). Strictly speaking, gasps & fissures isn't a solo album, as he calls on the services of bassist Kurt Johnson in the sublime monster drone that kicks in after 4'22" of the final "Elsewhere", and Bruckmann has no qualms about using technology to enhance and overdub his playing. As he writes in the notes, it's "an improviser's response to the paradoxes and absurdities of recording improvised music, and an attempt to inhabit gray areas and straddle facile dichotomies [..] sounds are grotesquely magnified and manipulated in time and space to sculpt music of claustrophobic intimacy and impossible physicality". As such, gasps & fissures takes its place alongside John Butcher's Invisible Ear and St├ęphane Rives' Fibres as one of the recent landmarks of the "extended solo" genre. Quite apart from producing the par for the course key click thuds, whooshes and flutters, Bruckmann can play the hell out of the oboe and cor, and has a repertoire of multiphonics that would be the envy of any oboist - not to mention saxophonist - the world over (next time John Butcher blows into Chicago to touch bases with Michael Zerang and Fred Lonberg-Holm, somebody put an extra chair in the studio for Bruckmann.. oops, forgot, he doesn't live there anymore). Kyle Bruckmann has never been content to sit still and concentrate on just one genre - witness his bloodcurdling performances as lead singer of the post-punk power group Lozenge - and the stochastic accumulation of overdubs in "Exponential" sounds more like Xenakis than it does "standard" improv. Similarly the minute pitch fluctuations of "Gaps & Fictions" and the cavernous drone of "Elsewhere" belong more to the world of Alvin Lucier and Phill Niblock. Whichever bag you want to put it in though, gasps & fissures is a worthy addition to your record collection, however you choose to organise it
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