I'm not normally one to rave, but this Briggan Krauss thing is something special. In fact, it's gigantic. Powerful. Uncompromising. An apocalyptic document for the end of an era and the birth of a new one. Alto saxophonist Krauss may be familiar from his tenure in such bands as Pigpen (check out Miss Ann
for example) and Sex Mob. Both groups center around the idea of in & out improvisation. Lately he's headed out more on his own, leading groups like 300 and Good Kitty. But on Descending to End
it's just Briggan and his saxophone. And the computer.
Krauss likes to use visual metaphors to describe his music. Listening to his new disc, that's not hard to understand. Little balls of fire pass through a distorted lunar landscape, skirting howling animals and swirling windstorms. By harnessing the power of electronics, Krauss makes his instrument sound like a guitar, or a cello, or percussion. Concise thought patterns intersect and diverge in very unpredictable ways. On my favorite track, "Lean Loud and Lovely," Krauss emerges from an undulating wave pattern with howling urgency, reeking of overblown overtones, yet sounding entirely metallic. A recorder-like sound creeps in with a pleasant melody, taking the stage for a few moments until the sandblaster re-emerges. It's not easy listening, and not for the weak of heart. Is it jazz as we know it? Hard to tell, though that's clearly where Krauss's origins are. Could it be a link to the jazz of the future? Most definitely yes.