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Jeff Kaiser & Ernesto Diaz-Infante: Pith Balls And Inclined Planes

Glenn Astarita By

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Many years ago I read where NASA, during one of it’s rocket launches, sent a time capsule up to the heavens which included recordings of Elvis or The Beatles, artifacts, books and mementos that provided a snap shot of mankind’s earthly existence. Of course, this was all intended for the alien’s up above who could possibly figure out what we earthlings had been up to for the last several thousand years. Well, as I listened to this new release titled, Pith Balls and Inclined Planes by trumpeter, electronics ace Jeff Kaiser and acoustic guitarist Ernesto Diaz-Infante, the aforementioned thoughts ran through my mind.

Jeff Kaiser’s muted trumpet, loops, animalistic noises, creaky sounds and expressionistic persona depicts a strange yet quite intriguing language, which of course is only enhanced by Diaz-Infante’s very percussive approach to the acoustic guitar. On “The Unreasonable Power Of The Diagrams”, Kaiser performs rapid flurries amid multiphonics, grunts and groans whereas, his blazing leads on “She Surreptitiously Introduced Colored Shirts” along with Diaz-Infante’s subtle manhandling of his acoustic guitar presents an odd yet curiously interesting portraiture. The piece titled, “Suppose A Black Thread” features loops, more sinewy yet well developed phrasing by Kaiser and sounds of perhaps infants crying out for attention. Yet it’s all about improvisation and compositions that reside on a higher and somewhat previously unexplored horizon as the musicians find new ways to convey a theme where music is sound and sound is music.

While it might be difficult to recommend this recording even to the most ardent admirers of modernistic musings, I found this to be a rather fascinating and at times hallucinatory outing. And like those aliens in deep space, interpretations are seemingly open-ended, as time, place and matter are rendered expendable or irrelevant, which partly signifies the beauty of it all.

* * * * ½ (out of * * * * *)


Title: Pith Balls And Inclined Planes | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Thrill Jockey


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