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Rob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra: Dimensional Stardust

Karl Ackermann By

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Rob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra: Dimensional Stardust
Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist Rob Mazurek has made his Exploding Star Orchestra the centerpiece of his larger groups. In this formation, he finds ample room to channel his disparate influences such as Sun Ra and Bill Dixon, and the distinctions he's absorbed as a global citizen. On Dimensional Stardust Mazurek and a dozen collaborators present an energetic, always changeable, genre-less mélange of styles held together by imagination and daring.

The imposing Exploding Star Orchestra includes flautist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid, trumpeter Jaimie Branch, pianist Angelica Sanchez and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. Mazurek's Chicago Underground collaborators Chad Taylor and Jeff Parker are on hand as well. The Chicago-based poet and sound/visual artist Damon Locks (Black Monument Ensemble) has become an integral part of the Exploding Star Orchestra since joining on Galactic Parables 1 (Cuneiform, 2015).

Dimensional Stardust opens with "Sun Core Tet (Parable 99)"; the opulent strings of Reid and violinist Macie Stewart call to mind an uninhabited region of Mazurek's soundscape. The aura becomes more exotic and complex with "Galaxy 1000" and "Parable of Inclusion," taking a turn for the unearthly on "Abstract Dark Energy (Parable 9)." The concluding piece, the longest on the album, "Autumn Pleiades," is a gorgeous and sophisticated refinement of physical movement; think of Gerald Wilson's Orchestra filtered through alien satellite transmissions.

The triple percussionists—Taylor, Mikel Patrick Avery, and John Herndon—energetically engage with the ensemble, keeping the multi-dimensional music moving flawlessly through some dense passages. When the album's extensive accessories clash with its abstract construction, it is less a jarring effect than one might think. Mazurek knows where he wants to pause the inventive spirit to let the music breathe; it exhales sounds of earth and those beyond.

Track Listing

Sun Core Tet (Parable 99); A Wrinkle In Time Sets Concentric Circles Reeling; Galaxy 1000; The Careening Prism Within (Parable 43); Abstract Dark Energy (Parable 9); Parable of Inclusion; Dimensional Stardust (Parable 33); Minerals Bionic Stereo; Parable 3000 (We All Come From Somewhere Else); Autumn Pleiades.

Personnel

Rob Mazurek: trumpet; Damon Locks: composer/conductor; Nicole Mitchell: flute; Macie Stewart: voice / vocals; Tomeka Reid: cello; Joel Ross: vibraphone; Jeff Parker: guitar; Jaimie Branch: trumpet; Angelica Sanchez: piano; Ingebrigt Håker Flaten: bass; Chad Taylor: drums; Mikel Patrick Avery: drums; John Herndon: percussion.

Rob Mazurek: director, composer, electronic renderings, modular synth; Damon Locks: electronics, text; Chad Taylor: percussion; Mikel Patrick Avery: percussion; John Herndon: drum machines.

Album information

Title: Dimensional Stardust | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: International Anthem/Nonesuch

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