Brink Man Ship (BMS), a project led by young flute/saxophonist Jan Galega Brönnimann, isn't today's typical one-man band. The core of this music relies on live performance by four musicians, with minimum use of overdubs.
After a superficial listen, one might label this album as "electronic" and put it on the same shelf with dance music. But that would be a big mistake and underestimation! It is difficult to describe BMS's music in words, and any attempt to categorize Translusion would be futile. Orthodox jazzophiles might demur, saying that the record includes a lot of "non-jazz" elements. Ok, that's true. But the basic jazz principle - improvisation - plays an essential role in Brink Man Ship's music. Electronica fans might complain that it doesn't sound synthetic and "chemical" enough, even though the arrangements are full of sophisticated ambient electronic sounds. Ethomusic fans might say that Translusion is too "civilized" and technological, but saxophonist Jan Galega Brönnimann frequently and enthusiastically indulges in various ethnic scales. Rockers might be complain about no loud guitar, but in this music the guitar plays a much more subtle role: it's not so much solo-exhibitionistic as colourful and psychedelic. Just to make things more interesting, BMS offers regular counterpoint to the primary instruments: several passages also feature a contemporary arranged string quartet.
Often when people combine so many different elements, the outcome can be shallow, blending heterogeneous sounds without any deeper logic. But the musicians in Brink Man Ship are skilled enough to avoid this pitfall. All the elements on Translusion blend together organically and harmoniously, balanced within the space of equanimity. It's unfair to expect every track to be different. Translusion carefully elaborates an original music conception through six compositions. The sounds flow with the same aura from beginning to end, but that's not necessarily a vice. After seeing a concert of BMS, I can testify to the impressive atmosphere the group builds on stage.
I can also imagine music from Translusion mixed into the middle of a DJ set at a party. But for the curious, this album deserves careful attention. Several spins on the player can reveal an entire world of the arranger's refinements hidden behind the semitransparent wall of the main theme. Brink Man Ship have created an album based on an eclectic synthesis of many kinds of 20th century music. The result of this creative process is a gateway to the 21th century. Translusion can be considered an "album for open-eared people." Maybe those people are not as rare as they might seem.
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