The album title, Paper Gardens, parallels saxophonist Matt Bauder's work for an architecture firm, concerning the design of a new garden for an elementary school. Upon his initial visit, he observed construction paper models of the proposed garden, which served as the basis for this curiously interesting, avant-garde, chamber-jazz foray. Here, Bauder forges a homogenous program, touching upon minimalism and sound-sculpting motifs to complement the improvisational opuses interspersed at key intervals.
Partly constructed on horn- and string-based extended notes, coinciding with intermittent detours, the ensemble propagates a series of systematized pastiches, augmented with contrasting dialogues, generating dips and spikes to offset some of the streaming flows. On "Track B," the musicians traverse on intersecting routes via Bauder's popping sax notes and cellist Loren Dempster's droning undercurrents. The band uses space as an additional instrument, along with false endings and ominous intimations.
The musicians exercise control, yet render several off-kilter metrics. They raise and lower the pitch with emotively constructed passages, crafting a foreboding undercurrent during "Track G," thanks to Dempster and bassist Reuben Radding's swerving notes that adjoin Bauder and alto saxophonist Matana Roberts' flowering motifs. In other regions of sound, the artists engage in fiery exchanges.
All told, Bauder's theme-building mindset imparts a conglomeration of geometric stylizations, tucked within an organic framework that offers a prismatic reckoning of his principal objectives.
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