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Matthias Lupri: Metalix

On his fifth CD, vibraphonist Matthias Lupri continues to expand the tonal potential of his instrument through unorthodox electronic manipulations. To begin the album, for example, he uses a violin bow on his vibes, the result of which is then “reversed, looped and distorted electronically” to produce ghostly, otherworldly sounds. The compositions are all Lupri originals, and the notion of “using the electronic stuff to expand [the instrument’s tonal] palette” underlies them all. The integration of such sounds with the composer’s tuneful melodies and infectious rhythms (over a variety of meter signatures) and the soloists’ inventive improvisations makes for an interesting and appealing program.

Lupri’s rhythm section is that of his previous recording-guitarist Nate Radley, bassist Thomson Kneeland (both of whom also manipulate electronics) and drummer/percussionist Jordan Perlson. They do a superb job of handling the music’s complex (but natural-sounding) meters and widely variable moods. The ensemble is expanded by Myron Walden on soprano and alto saxophones and bass clarinet and Donny McCaslin on soprano and tenor saxophones and alto flute. And although Lupri and Radley are fine improvisers in their own right, the postbop solos of both saxophonists could serve as models of intelligently constructed, ideally integrated improvisation.

Originally Published