Some musicians show a natural penchant for looking deep under the hood. They rummage around the tradition and the literal apparatus of their instrument to find musical inspiration. Mark Dresser is part of that world: his new trio album, Aquifer, is a formidable banquet of sonic data, tied together with a unique artistic logic. Dresser freely crosses over from jazz to new music, and from improvisational to written music. Similarly open-minded musicians join Dresser: Matthias Ziegler on sometimes-processed "electro-acoustic flutes" and Denman Maroney on prepared piano (or "hyperpiano" as he calls it). Balance is key on the CD, which is a new high point in Dresser's discography. From the free piece "FLBP," the going turns to the ornately scored "Digestivo," with its cheery-brainy theme on flute and piano underscored by Dresser's rubbery pulse below. Luscious, ominous bass bowing and oozy double stops open up "Threaded/Spin X," and sonic textures, at once delicate and raucous, are the thing on the title track. But then, "Modern Pine" closes the album on a strangely cool note: the tune proceeds like a metrically challenged variation on the blues. Dresser continues to carefully and intelligently split the difference between various genres of music.