The crew responsible for Telepathic Mysteries will be familiar to anyone who has encountered drummer and label boss Federico Ughi's 577 Records. First among equals is veteran multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter, who serves as the focal point in a co-operative completed by Patrick Holmes on clarinet, Matthew Putman on keyboards and Hilliard Greene on bass. That same lineup was also behind Electric Telepathy (2019), Telepatia Liquida (2018) and Telepathic Alliances (2017), so it is to be expected that the album's five tracks exhibit an ensemble which moves as if it is a single being.
Carter has been on the Downtown scene since the mid-1970s and reached a high water mark of sorts with his tenure in legendary fire music outlets such as TEST and Other Dimensions in Music. Latterly his playing has been characterized by a coolly abstract lyricism which nonetheless suggests emotional depth, even though rarely explicitly calling on blues tonalities. Such is the weight and breadth of his experience that he exerts a gravitational pull on the other participants, drawing them in to close orbit.
The end result is a swirl of flavors, in which no-one dominates for long, notwithstanding how strongly Carter's unhurried exposition tugs at the ear. Holmes' clarinet and Putman's keyboards dovetail and intertwine with him in an almost meditative restrained drifting. Refreshingly for such ventures, they make no effort to settle on a common tonal center, creating the slightly unsettling effect Ornette Coleman achieved through his harmolodics concept. Ughi periodically injects a non-metric pulse, abetted by Greene's robust bass, but what one might call the front line remains in a largely rubato stasis of intersecting lines.
While indisputably a group concern, there are moments when particular combinations stand out. Carter's Miles Davis-influenced muted trumpet fashions a mournful dirge tinged with an aspirational dash towards the close of "Nun Zero." Then Greene inhabits similar territory wielding his bow in the company of Ughi's malletted drums and Putman's splashing coloration on "SignGhost Theater." Later, on "S-Cape Cinemagic," it is notable how Greene takes up Putman's staccato electric piano figure in a repeated pizzicato phrase which he gradually extrapolates as the flow travels on.
Such instances give just a taste of the delights thrown up in the constantly evolving exchanges.
Nun Zero; SignGhost Theater; When You Snap; S-Cape Cinemagic; Lore Levels.
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