377

Briggan Krauss' H-Alpha: Red Sphere

By

Sign in to view read count
Briggan Krauss' H-Alpha: Red Sphere Guttural saxophone bleats demand attention amid the drum whorls and electronic washes. After the initial blast, the horn recedes as clipped drum bursts and metallic effects create a halting groove that elicits more wails. The dynamic shifts and manufactured form from chaos of "Sun" typify Red Sphere by H-Alpha—saxophonist Briggan Krauss' improvising trio with laptop artist Ikue Mori and drummer Jim Black.

Best known as trumpeter Steven Bernstein's sparring partner in Sexmob and for his ongoing collaborations with keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, Krauss released a string of well-regarded CDs on Knitting Factory Works in the mid-to-late '90s. Since then, he's done a series of self-released, limited- edition electro-acoustic recordings dedicated to different visual artists. Red Sphere represents something of a return for Krauss as a leader, blending his improvisatory and electro-acoustic interests.

H-Alpha's non-idiomatic approach doesn't retreat to easily identifiable forms or styles, the open format pushing the musicians to draw from their wide sonic palettes. Despite the rapid exchange of ideas, a steady barrage of notes is avoided, leaving space for sounds to develop and decay. The sole melodic voice, Krauss deftly shapes pieces, altering his attack to include spitting incendiary lines, sputtered sock-muted phrases and circular-breathed sustained drones.

Ranging from less than 1 to more than 8 minutes, the 17 tracks roughly alternate between harder-edged burners and spacious soundscapes, but each is imbued with identity to avoid repetition. Mori's trickling water sounds color Krauss' prolonged tones for an icy ambience on "Alpha Centauri." The mood is shattered when "Barnard's Star" erupts in a blast of squawking sax and frenetic drums. Watery effects and Krauss' growling horn open "Lalande 21185." After Black punctuates the utterances, Mori introduces a repeated shimmering phrase that he locks into, establishing a plodding groove for Krauss' dirge-like yowls.

Mori conjures an air of mystery on "V1216 Sagittarii," as Krauss' kazoo-like burbling and later sustained tones add to the sense of foreboding, while it's often difficult to discern the sound sources on the ghostly "EZ Aquarii." Black's big beat prods Krauss' intensity and Mori's sonority on "Lacaille 9352," while his tribal-tom riffing plays off the repeated sax phrase that introduces "61 Cygni."

The astronomic titling is apt for the otherworldly sounds and textures. Krauss and his partners share similar sensibilities, seeking to transcend established conventions through disciplined improvisation.

Track Listing: Sun; Alpha Centauri; Barnard's Star; Wolf 359; Lalande 21185; Sirius; Luyten 726-8; V1216 Sagittarii; HH Andromedae; Epsilon Eridani; Lacaille 9352; FI Virginis; EZ Aquarii; Procyon; 61 Cygni; Struve 2398; Groombridge 34.

Personnel: Briggan Krauss: alto and baritone saxophones; Ikue Mori: laptop; Jim Black: drums and percussion.

Title: Red Sphere | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Skirl Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Descending To End
Knitting Factory Records
1999
buy
300
Knitting Factory Records
1998
buy
Good Kitty
Knitting Factory Records
1996
buy

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin at Morey Baker’s Showplace Lounge" CD/LP/Track Review Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin at Morey Baker’s...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Escape  from The Unhappy Society" CD/LP/Track Review Escape from The Unhappy Society
by Anthony Shaw
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Rubicon" CD/LP/Track Review Rubicon
by John Kelman
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "The Magical Forest" CD/LP/Track Review The Magical Forest
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Signals
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 13, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!