2

Dialectical Imagination: The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Dialectical Imagination: The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture Dialectical Imagination is a duo comprised of pianist Eli Wallace and percussionist Rob Pumpelly, both of whom are dedicated to finding an approach to free improvisation that draws from their other interests in chamber music and composition. The six tracks included on this intriguingly-titled release do offer some provocative possibilities in that direction, providing idiosyncratic and compelling improvisations that retain vital thematic musical gestures.

In addition to his prior experience as a guitarist with avant-rock ensembles like miRthkon and the Flying Luttenbachers, Pumpelly cut his teeth studying composition at Mills College with avant-garde luminaries like Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran, and he's credited here with much of the compositional concept behind Dialectical Imagination. It's hard to discern exactly how much of the music is played extemporaneously and how much of it has a pre-planned logic, but from the rich opening chords and tentative upper-register forays of the aptly-named "Refusing Confusion," one can tell that this record will hardly be a free-jazz freak-out session. Wallace has a powerful delivery, amply demonstrated by the forceful shards of notes scattered throughout "Turnabout," or the percussive torrents of "Rungs," but it's never out-of-control, as even in the most tumultuous moments of the music there's a lyrical quality just under the surface.

The duo's distinctive sound is heard to best effect on the lengthiest of the cuts, "Sky in Eye, Free of 'I,'" where at over twelve minutes Wallace and Pumpelly have plenty of room to develop their ideas. Wallace's rubato arpeggios start the track in a pensive vein, with Pumpelly joining in with brushes, before Wallace begins to guide the music in a much more adventurous direction. Intricate, boisterous lines take flight, and a gradual surge of intensity builds as Wallace's left-hand pyrotechnics fuel the accrual of energy, only to have it recede as the track draws back to find its lyrical center, as Wallace's arpeggios again sustain a moment of calm before the final explosion of intensity ensues, and Pumpelly switches from brushes to sticks as the tempest is unleashed. But even here, there is a musical undercurrent to the piece that emerges glimmeringly amidst Wallace's relentless chordal attack and Pumpelly's percussive barrage. Despite its undeniable aggression, deeply-rooted musical elements are always present, creating a certain paradoxical beauty that emerges from the turmoil.

This record offers plenty of the freedom and the sense of boundless musical potential that pure improvisation can provide. But it's their willingness to bring an emotional sensitivity, and just the right amount of structure, to the music that helps Wallace and Pumpelly create something unique enough to help them stand out amidst the crowded field of free improvisers. A fine release, and one worthy of wider recognition.

Track Listing: Refusing Confusion; Immutable Light; Sky in Eye, Free of "I"; Rungs; Turnabout; Deepest View's Horizon You.

Personnel: Eli Wallace: piano; Rob Pumpelly: drums.

Title: The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Atma Nadi Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Negative Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Negative Spaces
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Rough Boundaries" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Boundaries
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Chromola" CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Duality: Particles & Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Duality: Particles & Waves
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana" CD/LP/Track Review Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Supreme" CD/LP/Track Review Supreme
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 25, 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!