Friday, July 31, 2015

Jorrit Dijkstra, Music for Reeds and Electronics: Oakland

I've been catching up lately with some of the notable Driff Records releases, finally. Today's disk is somewhat unusual, Jorrit Dijkstra's Music for Reeds and Electronics: Oakland (Driff 1403). It consists of Dijkstra compositions that leave room for open improvisations and electronic sounds. Jorrit plays alto, lyricon and analog electronics, Phillip Greenlief is on alto, tenor and clarinet, Kyle Bruckmann plays oboe, English horn and analog electronics, Frank Gratowski is on clarinet and alto, and finally Jon Raskin plays sopranino, alto, baritone and analog electronics.

Jon and Kyle's collection of various analog synths and modules along with Jorrit's lyricon make up the electronic contingency. There are 10 works in all, varied in thematic thrust but occasionally with a sort of Lacy-esque angularity. There is plenty of space for both electronic sounds and reed improvisations. Given the talent and versatile improvisatory abilities and sound-color awareness of this line-up nothing is lacking.

The music is quite modern and outside, yet structured via the compositional frameworks and the players' innate sense. It may end up sounding more like Rova plus electronics or Mitchell-Braxton abstractions than a World Saxophone Quartet, but ultimately it travels a path of its own.

Brittle and bristling, multi-voiced and multi-hued, all ten works give us a good deal to hear and grow into. There are new music connotations all over this set, but a bit of soulful modernity as well. Jorrit's excellent compositional sense and the collective talent of the quintet make for a heady melange and a significant avant statement.

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