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Bruno Raberg: For The Unknown

Dan McClenaghan By

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Bassist Bruno Raberg's artistry sounds as if it would be a good fit for ECM Records. His music has a drifting elasticity; space is an important component; and his muse has introduced him to electronic sound design—an approach that the Swedish-born, and now Boston-based, performer has embraced.

Raberg's sound is unique. Over the course of nine CD releases as a leader, beginning with 1992's Pentimento (Boston Skyline) and building up to the release at hand, For The Unknown, he has created one singular statement after the other in the free jazz/avant-garde realm. It is thoughtful, otherworldly, stark and sometimes surreal. The bassist is joined in crafting this atmospheric soundscape menagerie by trumpeter Phil Grenadier and saxophonist Allan Chase.

Consider "Metallic Ocean," one of the nineteen relatively brief pieces that comprise For The Unknown: It begins with a rasping breeze—emery cloth dragged gently across cold steel. A trumpet simulates small, tinny waves splashing on the shore, and a wind rises off body of dull gray mercury. It sounds subterranean, like unsettled weather beneath a vein of iron ore on a metal beach in Pellucidar.

"Big Sur Calling" features a two horn fanfare—imagine the horn guys on a high cliff overlooking the cold Pacific, offering a prayer. "Sculpture VI" sounds orchestral, a surging Stygian symphony in two and a quarter minutes. And the closer, the reverential and reverberant "Lullaby For The Unknown," an eerie music that could serve as soundtrack to the final journey to the light—or the darkness—at the end of the life's tunnel to the beyond.

A superb effort—Raberg's best, so far.

Track Listing: Island Contours; Elastic Quadruple; Metallic Ocean; Time Painting Backwards; Peace Agreement; Sculpture VI; Big Sur Calling; Miro's February; Questionable Premise; Transformal Ghee; Sculpture VII; Sand Clock Revisited; Flurries; Tincture Bell Part I; Tincture Bell Part II; Grater Bubbles; Sculpture VII; Equuleaus; Lullaby For the Unknown.

Personnel: Bruno Raberg: bass, electronic sound design; Allan Chase: saxophones; Phil Grenadier: trumpet.

Title: For The Unknown | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Orbis Music

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