Guitarist Han-Earl Park's Anomic Aphasia features two different trios, revolving around the duo of the himself and saxophonist Catherine Sikora. One configuration features the work of guitarist Nick Didkovsky, a distinctly different guitarist than Park, and the other the deep register woodwinds of Josh Sinton.
The album clocks in at a generous 71 minutes, and none of it is wasted. Starting with the 20 minute 'Monopod' with the cast of Sikora, Park and Didkovsky, things are off to a (briefly) squeaky start, then track begins in earnest, with the tenor sax's free form melody cutting through the slashing tones of the guitars. What starts brittle, grows tough and dense. The 'conversation' between the sax and the guitars is intense at times, and at other times tender. Generally speaking, Park tends to be more atmospheric while Didkovsky is more biting.
The track 'Pleonasm' features the trio of Sinton, Sikora and Park. The rich tones of Sinton's baritone sax and bass clarinet contrast nicely with Sikora's vivacious playing on the tenor and soprano saxes. The track begins with Park's minimalist approach - he employs a vocabulary of textures and taut phrases as the saxes reply with staccato bursts of melodic runs. The song, like the others, is abstract but there is something at the nexus of the trio's playing that remains accessible and captivating.
'Stopcock' is the long burning closer to the album. Back to Sikora, Park and Didkovsky, the trio delivers a fascinating performance that starts with arpeggios and rhythmic picking lending a somewhat metal feel to the introduction. The two guitars play in parallel for a while - some time reaching agreement, other times in friendly competition. When Sikora joins, she delivers a vigorous melody that pulls the track together.
Between the four musicians, Anomic Aphasia is a great set of free jazz trio work. Every twist and turn, scrape, squeak and melodic idea contributes to this adventurous and exciting recording.
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