Kyle Bruckmann has been trained in classical music, which relies on structure. He is also an experimentalist, which requires the deconstruction of structure. In tandem, the two approaches can make for an interesting devolution, as the whole becomes fragmented only to be made whole again. Bruckmann has the acumen to trigger his technical prowess with schematic variables and come up trumps. He does this as he sows the idea in placid waters... or the eye of a storm.
Bruckmann's plane of movement calls for a calm beginning that slowly grows into agitated temper as the other instruments come in. He is often the air on the oboe or English horn while trombonst Jeb Bishop is the earth, the counterpoint, with vigorous, punchy lines. But the quiet one is first and it comes through "Mitigating Factors." There is little by way of improvisation here; the advent is dominated by classical music movement, a ripple of fervour finding its whirl about midway via the drums and percussion of Tim Daisy.
The recording also offers a stunning view of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman." Bruckmann is lyrical; Bishop adds to the dimension with an articulate second voice that never tries to jump to the fore; and Kurt Johnson picks the bass with well spaced lines. All of these parts add up to that succulent body.
A gentle sway brings in "Sins of Omission," but soon enough it turns into the joy of commission as the tempo gradually becomes torrid, a change so subtle that the roil is almost in before you notice. Bishop attacks Bruckmann's lines with short jabs and then bleeps and smears as Daisy rips a frenzied rhythm. Modern classicism is the fanfare when these players become "Rather Dour," the evolution coming as they all charge into a free-for-all that dissipates as Jen Clare Paulson ebbs the pace and stretches the dramatic pulse on the viola. A treat in all of its manifestations, titles included.
Track Listing: Rather Dour; Elegy for a Boiled Frog; Extenuating Circumstances; Sins of Omission; Mitigating Factors; Gearshifts & Parentheticals; Lonely Woman.
Personnel: Kyle Bruckmann: oboe, English horn; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Tim Daisy: percussion; Kurt Johnson: bass; Jen Clare Paulson: viola.