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CD/LP/Track Review

Rich Johnson: Up The Turret Mil (2008)

By Published: January 23, 2009
Rich Johnson: Up The Turret Mil If something exists in the netherworld, it is said to be "living in hereafter," or the "afterworld." This ethereal theme, with its delicate, vaporous connotations is the subject matter of trumpeter Rich Johnson's Up The Turret Mil.

While not a native of the Netherlands in either possible connotation, this New York artist produces sounds from somewhere beyond music, a region located between sound and feeling. His early training was in classical trumpet, before studying jazz at the Manhattan School of Music. He is a member of We Can Build You, with Jason Rigby and Jonathan Goldberger, and Voice of the Turtle: a laptop duo with Scott Anderson.

This disc was conceived, recorded, and mixed by Johnson in 2007, with him playing all parts on trumpet, laptop and guitar. This might suggest that Up The Turret Mil could be a reworked (or overworked) affair—it's not. The stark minimalism (or restraint) is that of simple sonorities and patterns. His trumpet manipulations are reminiscent of Jon Hassell, Rob Mazurek and Ben Neill.

Although a trumpeter by title, Johnson doesn't present a top-heavy brass record; his spartan delivery is the trick here, neither flooding the music with natural or manipulated sound. Choosing his words (notes) carefully, he divines this otherworld of buoyancy—he is just as apt to rely on guitar, or computer flutter as the center of a track. The netherworld Rich Johnson occupies makes ambient music interesting and improvisation unnaturally coherent.


Track Listing: Squinting Skyward; Star Rover; Ignite a Noise; Harvester; The Loves of Zero; Shoreline Frequency; I Trap Totem Pulp; After a Tectonic Melt Purr; Following Transparency Monodies; Up the Turret Mil; Last Town Mile.

Personnel: Rich Johnson: trumpet, laptop, guitar, electronics.

Record Label: Loyal Label

Style: Fringes of Jazz



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