Arrington de Dionyso (bass clarinet, contralto clarinet) transfuses a relentless energy into his music. He is a restless character driven to manipulate sound and seek new dimensions. He wails and he squeals and he soars high into the atmosphere, but he also gets down to the plain, exposing his ability to mark a linear trajectory. Even there, however, he is not free of his idiosyncrasies. He squeezes notes out of the clarinet that he abets with flutters. All of it fits in neatly, and with the band of cohorts he has in tow, the music is intense, pulsating, challenging and absorbing.
De Dionyso's gurus are Albert Ayler
, John Coltrane
and Pharoah Sanders
, but even as he soars high into the stratosphere on the wings of their influence, he has the perspicacity to land on solid ground and structure a different texture.
"We Binge on a Bloodthirsty God" explodes on the visceral force of the band. De Dionyso stretches out in a heated blaze, the rhythm pounding beneath. Gregg Skloff uses an amplified bass that adds a deeper bottom, but his arco playing rises from that grounding in his conversations with the clarinet. Into the mix falls the cool rain of Thollem McDonas' piano, his notes like sparkling water settling into the fire but not quenching it.
McDonas boldly ventures into melody as the rest of the band rains down slabs of metal and torqued phrases on "We Fly Beneath and Above the Flux." He turns it around to plonk down repetitive chords that jump off the sheets of sound that get more ferocious and absolutely delightful.
The air of chamber music wafts slowly on "We Sleep in a Rabbit Hole" as bass, drums, and piano shadow each other. The clarinet finds the open spaces to vent its tortured sound. The syllables of the instruments are the coda to a blistering journey filled with multiple textures and oddball but interesting turnstiles of the titles.
Personnel: Arrington de Dionyso: bass clarinet, contralto clarinet; Thollem McDonas: piano; John Niekrasz: drums; Greg Skloff: bass.