Scott Colley: Architect Of The Silent Moment (2008)
A work that presents a deeply mined and singular mood, Architect Of The Silent Moment is subdued yet coolly intense. The album presents a unified musical vision built on bass vamps and grooves with little true melodic development or harmonic changes, allowing the soloists much freedom within each defined section.
While the prevailing feeling created is one of introspection and thoughtfulness, elation and clarity break through many times. This is not music that presents obvious, clear forms created by the normal musical means, but rather signals new sections by subtle textural changes. This is an artistic choice, and the music allows the sympathetic (or patient) listener the time to get inside of it.
The mixing of the acoustic with the electronic is not shocking at all, being only Craig Taborn's keyboards and, perhaps, some processed acoustic sounds. Once again, this is artistic choice, and by extending the sonic palette, Colley is only intensifying the carefully crafted mood.
Title tunes are not picked randomly, and this one exemplifies the aesthetic of the album. The long-limbed, David Binney-influenced theme manages to sound both out and in time, reaching a climax in its second section, only to drop back again. The very lack of easily identifiable development epitomizes the album's overall mood of a floating introspective journey, which we are asked to take along with the musicians who are creating it in real time. Many times the music's structure feels ready to fall apart, only to pull itself together and gather intensity and forward momentum.
While the exact meaning of the album's title is open for debate, this listener hears Colley attempting to create musical structure by implication and by carefully controlling the silent moments between notes and phrases as much as the actual notes. The compositions feel very open-ended, with little actually written down except in the most general way. The success of the music and its ultimate integrity must be ascribed to the sensitivities of the band.
Indeed, this group of playersboth the core quartet and guestsmake up a portion of a larger set of players and composers that play together frequently and are extremely sympathetic to this aesthetic. During rehearsals and at the actual recording they probably inserted as much of themselves as they read from the charts.
Hence the music, despite its less than overt emotional projection, has a strong sense of spontaneity that balances the periods of clearer structure. The musicians make the music, and this recorded set would work well live, probably sounding quite different. Its darkness of sonic texture and mood would create intensity, drawing the audience in, perhaps even more strongly than this recorded version.
Architect Of The Silent Moment is a unified work whose individual tracks could have flowed together, and this is its strength. The music requires concentration and a willingness to let the music transport you, but the reward is great indeed.
Track Listing: Usual Illusion; Strip Mall Ballet; El Otro; Architect of the Silent Moment; Masoosong; Feign Total; From Within; Smoke Stack; Window of Time.
Personnel: cott Colley: bass; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Craig Taborn: piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3; Antonio Sanchez: drums. Special guests: Dave Binney: saxophone; Jason Moran: piano; Gregoire Maret: harmonica; Adam Rogers; guitar.