A Perpetual Puzzle Unfolding
by Monique Avakian
This is the kind of album that leads a magically-minded person to start searching for hidden clues buried inside numerical relationships. Being lousy at math, this puts me in an awkward position. Don’t get me wrong – those of you well-versed and in-place will happily puzzle through all the various layers of rhythmic smoke bombs, harmonic fractals, (a)symmetrical puns, and inside jokes to be found in this wildly structured tripped-out way IN.
But since I speak for the poets among us, lets just go for the metaphor, shall we?
40Twenty invites you into a world that seems completely unknown, yet totally familiar. As Miranda Sielaff’s graphic on the back cover suggests, you are going to move beyond your usual daily kind of Self. As you listen, you may begin to ponder A~Universe~of~Ear or TheGeOgRaphYofWindOw. Certainly, you’ll get more familiar with The Essence of Spiral. You may even find a kind of ladder that goes everywhere inside a nowhere kind of square. The deeper you go with listening, you realize you really are solid. As in stabilized. As in GROUNDED.
And how cool is that, to feel grounded in the middle of such high level abstraction? Given the level of chaos most of us are experiencing nowadays, who wouldn’t want to feel safe enough to hear water become granite or steel turn to flax?
Believe me, this is an album that will simultaneously plant your feet and blow your mind.
Highlights of 4 Co-Creative Voices:
Ever true to the group improvisational spirit as well as his highly developed uber-individualistic style, Mr. Sacks takes us on simultaneously layered journeys of exploration, all defying simplistic categories of explanation. The most intriguing moments, to me, are those source spots where he winds us down into the lowest registers of resonance, as if drawing down the moon into an expanse of sea. Sacks works a kind of temporal magic here that is as subtle as it is benevolent. Whatever way you choose to connect (through math, sound, beauty, science, art, magic or spirit), you, as I, will be left with the concept of possibility and with a sure-footed feeling of empowerment.
That Ride! What a sound! And all that Multi-Dimensional Sonic Wash! Ooooh! What’s he’s doing?!?! Sperrazza takes traditional cymbal techniques and elevates ideas of a sonic harmonics into a place of integrity and purpose that is not even close to what you might expect. It’s hard for a drummer to use sound-based ideas in a way that invites people in, but Sperrazza is so melodically involved in the harmony, it’s as though we’ve known him forever and what’s the big deal, we’re just cookin’ along like always. Yet, nothing here is typical. Whether made for emphasis, for cleansing, for contrast, for support, for transport, in the service of a rhythmic choice—whatever the particular need called for by the group at the moment, Sperrazza can be counted upon to go beyond convention and provide something you might miss if you are not paying attention. Pay attention! He’s so generous!
Melodically rapid to the point of incredulity, conceptually hearty like your favorite winter stew, sonically loping around when appropriate, stern yet completely warm in intent--this is a kind of wow in technique and approach you are not sure is for real because how could one person be so adept from so many different angles and starting points? Look out and get into it. Garchik’s steady and exponential evolutions will leave you completely exhausted and quite happily so. His bold relentlessness is oddly reassuring.
Mr. Ambrosio provides a willful beacon to follow – if you dare. Lyrically-minded, melodically intent, ever open inside the search, consistently inventive in approach—you have to commit to taking the time to really get involved with the Soul Force that is this bass player. His level of focus might seem kind of scary at first, but that’s only because your attention span has been wrecked by irrelevant machines and superficial living. Ambrosio’s careful freedom allows the listener to cultivate an understanding rooted in intention, and his complexity expresses a level of sincerity that is as refreshing as it is enlightening. He offers us access to a world of abundance, but this is not to be entered into haphazardly without care. The onus is on you to prepare, but if you think about it, why would you want it any other way?
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