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Album Review

Tal Gur: Under Contractions

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Tal Gur: Under Contractions
Uncertainty, synchronicity, discombobulation, frustration, and fragility all come to the surface on Under Contractions—the third album from Israeli-born, New York-based saxophonist Tal Gur.

Gur—a practicing music therapist—has a way of coaxing emotions out of his instrument(s), turning his own work into a form of self-examination. It's true that autobiography has a place in the work of most musicians, but the resultant music that's created isn't often as vivid as this. For Gur, a nebulous miniature can serve as the outcome of pushing through writer's block ("ReGenesis"), disorder can have its place in life ("Time Tuning Day #2"), and contrasting emotions surrounding child birth can be fully explored through sound; there's pain and fear in the birthing process ("Under Contractions"), but there's also pure beauty ("Waiting For Birth"). At times, Gur chooses to paint his music beneath a hazy sky, as musically open structures and a liberal use of rubato allow the music to ooze rather than move. In other places, everybody is perfectly in sync ("ReGenesis Day #3").

Gur's foil—guitarist Eyal Maoz—has great range, alternately delivering pleasant and foggy chords, astringent lines, and toying asides. These two often wander off in different directions, but they also have a way of shaping a song while walking the same path. The other players on board for this outing—bassist Sam Trapchak and drummer Nick Anderson—are perfectly in tune with Gur's inside-meets-outside way of working. They provide solid foundations when needed, add to the tumult when things turn ugly, and color tastefully when a lighter touch is required. Gur's work—alternately focused and free, specific and vague, and sure and indecisive—is a mirror into his mind and emotional state(s). Actually, it's really a look at the opposing emotions that we all wrestle with.

Track Listing

ReGenesis; Time Tuning Day #2; ReGenesis Day 3; Under Contractions; Waiting For A Birth; Missiles Up Missiles Down; Time For Night; Time Tuning Afternoon #5; Time For Fight; ReGenesis Dawn #7.

Personnel

Tal Gur: straight alto saxophone; soprano saxophone; Eyal Maoz: electric guitar; Sam Trapchak: double bass; Nick Anderson: drums.

Album information

Title: Under Contractions | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

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