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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nate Wooley - The Almond (Pogus, 2012)

I think I may have had a 'moment of zen' while listening to this recording. I must admit that I cheated on this one a little at first, skimming the start of the recording, dipping the "play head" to see what was happening with what seemed to be a rather persistent chordal tone. Eventually though, I calmed down and just let it play.

It's safe to say that this recording is a slow build, a very slow one, one that requires far more patience then I thought I possessed. However, I'm quite happy that I eventually did just let it play, and build and build. At the 35 minute mark, I suddenly 'felt' it. A change that on it's own would not have been much but the proceeding minutes of sameness made the next build feel momentous. A new note or a change in the tone, however minuscule, each made a palpable impact. As it continued to change -- and not change -- the sound at times was more like an organ than a single overdubbed trumpet.

Some recent reviews of Wooley's work here with Peter Evans, the group Scowl or alone with an amplifier, highlight his extended techniques like the use of feedback, vocalization, and other avant-garde leanings. This time though the unusual technique is time. Extending these notes for essentially 70 minutes, introducing layers and tonal shifts, creates a hypnotic, meditative and altering piece.

I'm refraining from stars on this because it's hard to say … many stars for concept and experience, but as a piece of music? Not sure how to rank that. Regardless, it's a recording that refuses to leave my head.

© stef


Richard said...

Fun review, Paul.

Free Jazz readers should go to Nate's home page.

He had a concert written up on the New York Times! That quintet is a dream line-up. It's great when this music gets that kind of exposure.

Johnny JaZz said...

Hi Stef, based on your recommendation I bought this today and played it loud stuck in very bad traffic traveling into Sydney's CBD. I love music/sound/noise like this. Very, very challenging but so worth the perseverance.