Inaction Is An Action
, simultaneously released with its almost polar opposite Behind The Sky
, is a force of nature embodied in the sopranino saxophone as "played" solo by Jon Irabagon
. From the point of view of how each piece "sounds," and each track truly is a composition, its range is astounding. It should not be surprising that Irabagon has been working on the instrument (which sounds an octave above an alto sax) for a decade, by himself and with others.
Yes, this is an "experimental" record, meaning the familiar mental signposts of melody, harmony and rhythm are missing. The fact is that single-line instrument played solo works against the familiar, but the thing really setting it "out there" is that are few actual notes (meaning pitches with an identifiable timbre), but rather mostly sounds. "The Best Kind Of Sad" stands out (along with "Ambiwinxtrous") from the other tracks for the very reason that there are actual notes played and connected melodically.
After the shock of "how does he do that?" wears out its welcome, one is left with the sounds themselves and their development as each piece proceeds. Irabagon has performed over a dozen solo shows in the last year, honing his technique and thought process. Clearly this is meant to be listened to, and since it is consciously directed sound, quite obviously qualifies as music, although most would place it in the avant garde
Be that as it may, the control and direction of the sounds, which are heard within a huge sound stage created by the Lakeview Presbyterian Church in Chicago, display the mind of Irabagon at work. Repeated listenings allow one to get inside the sounds and, as they become familiar, flow, direction, structure, tension and release, as well as emotion, can be sensed and appreciated. When this happens, what each effect "sounds like" becomes irrelevant. Inaction Is An Action
might not be for everyone, but for those who can relax into Irabagon's sound world, the rewards are great.