Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Orchestra: The Space Between (2013)
The forty-minute suite is divided conveniently, and perhaps whimsically, into eight segments of 5 minutes each. The tracks however flow into each other with no physical or conceptual breaks. The sonic backdrop is synth heavy and the ambiance shifts from otherworldly and expansive to intensely thunderous. Even when not watching the intriguing visual sequences the music itself conjures up various mental images. Mazurek's mellow but passionate cornet and flutist Nicole Mitchell's thick breathy tones mark "Illumination Drone 17" which is the musical equivalent of a psychedelic celestial light show.
Mitchell brings an organic element to the darkly metallic "We Are All One With The Moon And Planets." The atmosphere has the semblance of the inside of a sterile spaceship. Mazurek's warm, meandering solo sets the mood for the mystical poetry that vocalist Damon Locks pensively and powerfully enunciates. Mitchell's resonant lines and pianist Jeff Kowalkowski chiming chords underscore the spoken words. Voice and acoustic instruments melt away "the walls" and as computerized sonances sparkle in the background Mitchell's playful, dancing phrases fades in the churning electronic din of "Only."
The futuristic symphony, in addition to being cinematic, is also rich in an intriguing variety of moods and states of mind. A righteous rage marks "The Shifting Sequence" with Mazurek's screeching horn and percussionist Carrie Biolo and drummer John Herndon's roaring, fiery beats. Human whispers echo and grow louder overwhelming the robotic static. Mitchell's melancholic song laces the tune with an understated tenderness. Meanwhile, on the last movement "Indra's Net," Kowalksowski's piano tolls like church bells on Easter Sunday. The energetic group interplay fades into somber, quiet howling wind. Evocative verse punctuated by sparse flute notes concludes the album with subtle and sublime spirituality.
To those who know Mazurek's work it comes as no surprise that The Space Between is a unique and stimulating work. Despite its overtly unorthodox creativity the record remains oddly accessible and delights the curious minded novice as well as the open eared veteran listener.
Track Listing: Vortex, Pts. 1-5; We Are All One With The Moon And Planets; The Shifting Sequence; Illumination Drone 17; Space Between; Seven Blues; Indra’s Net.
Personnel: Rob Mazurek: electro acoustic composition, written scores, hidden scores, video scores, painting, cornet, main electronics, text; Marianne M. Kim: video, choreography, dance; Todd Carter: live sound recording, sonic manipulation, recording and mixing engineer; Damon Locks: vocals, electronics, text; Nicole Mitchell: flute; Matt Bauder: electronics; Jeff Kowalkowski: piano, electric piano; Carrie Biolo: percussion; Mauricio Takara: electric cavaquinho; Guilherme Granado: sampler; John Herndon: drums.
Record Label: Delmark Records
Style: Modern Jazz