Frank Macchia / Brock Avery: Rhythm Abstraction: Gold

Dan McClenaghan By

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Muli-reedist Frank Macchia and percussionist Brock Avery started 2020 with their release of Rhythm Abstraction: Azure (Cacophony), a follow-up to 2018's Rhythm Kaleidoscope (Cacophony), employing its predecessor's approach. Here's how it works. Avery lays down an improvised percussion foundation. Then Macchia steps in with just about every imaginable reed instrument to construct an elaborate orchestration—one step, one saxophone (or flute, or clarinet, or ocarina) at a time. Liken it to Avery serving as a baker, sculpting a cake, then calling in the decorator, Macchia, who brings in a hundred colors and lays on a thousand different, intricate designs. That's how things rolled with 2018's Rhythm Kaleidoscope, with 2020's Rhythm Abstraction: Azure, and that's how it goes with the set at hand, Rhythm Abstraction: Gold, part two of the three part release scheduled to wrap up in July of 2020, with Rhythm Abstraction: Ruby.

The music sounds like an utterly spontaneous and exuberant brew of jazz and classical, big band variety. It is a "[continuing pursuit of] the use of tone rows and motifs to create a music journey that ebbs and flows with the rhythm and takes the listener on a journey through rhythm and sound." That may sound a bit deep—and the music is—but it is also an approachable, high-energy and vivacious sound, beginning with "Compulsions," a stew of sound set on a rolling boil—an intense four minutes-plus that wraps up with a screaming, psychotic culmination.

"Inquisition" is a soundtrack to a tortuous interrogation, and "Complications" trundles along on an abstract groove, while "Anahata" evokes an atmosphere of mysterious spirituality. "Momentum," featuring a foundation that sounds like African traditional drumming, features Macchia using a couple of chromatic five-note pentatonic scales and wood flutes, along with a glorious, soaring vocal chant by Tracy London (it sounds like multiple Tracy Londons, reverberating down from heaven) to close Part Two of Frank Macchia and Brock Avery's Rhythm Abstractions, this one appropriately entitled Gold.

Track Listing

Compulsion; Inquisition; Complication; Anahata; Impatience; Momentum


Frank Macchia: composer/conductor; Brock Avery: percussion; Tracy London: voice / vocals.

Frank Macchia: Composer, Arranger, Producer, Mixer, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone Bass Saxophones; Piccolo, Flute, Wood Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Contrabass Flute; Clarinet, Alto Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet, Ethnic Winds, Synthesizers Brock Avery: Composer, Drums, Percussion, Tambourines, Pandeiro, Pods, Metal Bells, Shingclang, Slit Drums, Buffetonium, Pipanafone, Stackers, Bulb Horn

Album information

Title: Rhythm Abstraction: Gold | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Cacophony



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