Three in stature, but with a pan-directional sound that belies their number the Resonance Impeders are emblematic of the New York Downtown scene. As the Knitting Factory (one of their favorite haunts) proudly proclaims in it’s marketing literature- “Downtown is more than a zip code.” It’s a veritable improvisatory microcosm- a state of mind AND a statement of purpose. Boundary breaking is creative business and Krauss, Dahlgren and Rosen take their entrepreneurial endeavors seriously, but with a healthy dose of bent humor mixed in for good measure.
The formless start to the opening track is a perfect example. Quiet and meandering at inception things quickly coalesce through the magnetizing groove of Rosen’s’ nascent rhythms. Krauss and Dahlgren catch hold and an undulating shared trajectory is secured. Biting off elongated overblown lines Krauss spits swollen streaks across the crenellated current of bass and drums. “Til dim go,” a fevered tone poem, mixes lethargy and moodiness as Krauss’ alto, sounding more like a tenor in tone, sways and exhorts above an ocean of pattering skins and throbbing bass. Rosen moves to little instruments (bells, scrapers, slide whistle, etc.) on the eerie “Ant farm cousin” conjuring a phantasmagoric array of percussive reverberations that belie the trio’s title. Krauss worries the same scalar series of slurred notes and Dahlgren’s pyretic strings trade in swollen acidic clusters. Staccato reed pops and metallic bass strums gesticulate around Rosen’s stick-fire on “they had fallen into space and swung along in the dance of the constellations.” Press roll funk kicks off “All That Dies Gladly” as Rosen’s martial snares syncopate with Dahlgren’s almost subsonic bass figures. Krauss makes a flippant entrance blowing knotty vibrato-caked lines from his reed that fill in the blanks with sonic expletives. Shreds of lo-fi static creep up on Dahlgren’s strings adding further to the piebald din prior to the piece’s tumble to rickety close. On the finale blowout “Nor to evil” the dynamic range of sonorities reaches a level of magnificent breadth and focus proving conclusively that the trio’s prowess extends far beyond being privy to a bottomless bag of tricks.
A highly imperfect analogy, but one that spring to mind just the same, this band recalls Tom Waits in its darkly original brand of circus funhouse explorations. Stygian comicality and a manically transformative restlessness are the only relative constants in the music; everything else is up for grabs. Strangely and surprisingly enough it all fits together somehow, each piece phase-shifting into the next, but still retaining an underlying tether of continuity. The Resonance Impeders certainly aren’t for every set of ears. Listeners who bristle at the viability of the Avant-Garde in jazz are advised to give this disc wide berth. But those with a taste for adventure and the seamier side of free improvisation will most likely find much to sink their synapses into here.
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Track Listing: Say then but the two gone/ Till dim go/ ant farming cousin/ they had fallen into space and swung along in the dance of the constellations/ Lip Embalmment/ All that dies gladly dies/ Alone to be seen/ preying since first said on foresaid remains/ Nor to evil.
Personnel: Briggan Krauss- alto saxophone; Chris Dahlgren- bass; Jay Rosen- drums. Recorded: February 7 & 8, 2000, Rossie, NY.