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Gratkowski / Nabatov / Schmickler: Deployment

Glenn Astarita By

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Gratkowski / Nabatov / Schmickler: Deployment Armed and prepared for battle, prominent improvisers Frank Gratkowski (reeds) and Simon Nabatov (prepared piano) align forces with computer operator Marcus Schmickler for a sequence of strategic maneuvers. They commence the Deployment with haunting overlays, via Nabatov's clustered phrasings and Schmickler's ethereal, and sometimes subliminal, overlays or interjections. Gratkowski commandeers a free form impetus, spanning boisterous sax and clarinet parts amid shifting movements and alterations to the ensuing skirmish.

The trio synthesizes an array of mood-evoking frameworks via slopes and weaving layers of sound, complementing understated passages and steely interludes and generating a buoyant musical plane. The musicians often regroup, and seemingly reassess their mode of attack with microtonal fragments, frightful upper register choruses and off-kilter theme-building exercises. Part of Gratkowski's mission is to summon his comrades to destroy the enemy in concert with wieldy performances, spiced with ominous undercurrents. Intense and beyond intense, the album poses a study in polytonal contrasts, teeming with diverse angles and climactic opuses.

Schmickler is a shrewd technician as he often coasts, intersects and morphs odd soundscapes into the mix. On "Instance,," Gratkowski leads the troops into the heat of war with frantic and popping sax lines, atop Nabatov's eerie and fractured phrasings. The musicians' storyline is loaded with free form improvisation and heated exchanges. Nonetheless, the trio takes no prisoners while pronouncing a battle cry of freedom throughout this gripping and rather excitable venture.

Track Listing: Allocation; Artifact; Cluster; Instance; Node.

Personnel: Frank Gratkowski: alto saxophone, clarinets; Simon Nabatov: (prepared) piano; Marcus Schmickler: computer.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Leo Records | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


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