Conductor/musician/educator Masashi Harada iterates, “Condanction exploits this feedback mechanism between physical movements of the Conductor and a group of improvising musicians exploring the border between dance and music”. Hence, this new release titled, Condanction Ensemble (1999)
presents the listener with a potpourri of dynamics and music spurred on or perhaps created by gestures, dance and elements that could also be rooted in human psychology. Basically, these nine tracks are quite evolutionary in scope as the improvising musicians respond to Harada’s gyrations with sporadic outbursts, plaintive cry’s and interweaving motifs. On “Voice”, members of the band supplement the musical aspects with garbled chants and unintelligible banter which at times, invokes thoughts of some fourth world tribal ritual yet the musicians render ominous themes and eerie drones along with resonant passages that seemingly arise from nowhere.
With the piece titled, “The Whipping Or String Of Lava”, we are treated to trumpeter Greg Kelley’s fiery, raspy throated phrasing in concert with steely-edged strings and stormy patterns while electric guitarist Phil Tomasic emits ghoulish lines amid bizarre choral sequences and farcical theatrics on “Tomasic Concerto”. Overall, Harada’s concepts and applied theories work rather nicely as the music signifies a great deal more than the tried and true.
* * * ½ (Out of * * * * *)
Personnel: Greg Kelley; trumpet: Tucker Dulin; trombone: Christian Pincock; trombone (8-9): Eric Carlson; tuba (1-7): Bhob Rainey; soprano saxophone: Aleta Cole; violin (1-7): Dan Levin; cello (1-7): Mike Bullock; double bass: Phil Tomasic; electric guitar: Masashi Harada; condanction