Monday, May 30, 2022

Kyle Bruckmann - Mesmerics/Hindsight A & B (Infrequent Streams, 2021)

By Ron Coulter

San Francisco Bay Area musician, Kyle Bruckmann is an accomplished oboist in contemporary classical and improvised musics. Here in Mesmerics/Hindsight A & B, Bruckmann has applied his creative practice to electronics during the “quarantined conditions of 2020-21.” Often, practicing musicians (i.e. performers of acoustic instruments) bring a vitality and immediacy to the use of electronics, both compositionally and performatively, that escapes those without that experiential knowledge; Mesmerics/Hindsight A is an excellent example of this facility.

In a way this music doesn’t require a review, as the album notes are thoroughly descriptive, lengthy, and colorful. However, those notes lean heavily on association and comparison of Bruckmann’s compositions to already established electronic musics, history, and influences. Even though this music utilizes certain iconic synthesizers and was created in a geographic area with a deep history of electronic music, this music isn’t derivative; it stands firmly on its own.

Mesmerics/Hindsight A is especially strong, abstract electronic music dripping with fat, juicy analog synth sounds. The four tracks comprising Mesmerics/Hindsight A are through-composed, in constant development, and have a lively feeling of pliancy not often heard in electronic music; organic might be the commonly used descriptor. The music has a fluidity like that of an improvising musician using an acoustic instrument—a singular union of the performer and the technology. Mesmerics is an apt title, because this is mesmerizing music of oddly distorted pitch/melody, rhythm, and texture that draws a listener into its idiosyncratic sound world; see track A2, Hindsight II: Occam’s Blunderbuss, in particular.

Mesmerics/Hindsight B is, as the album notes describe, prioritizing periodicity. Its ten tracks appear like studies that each explore a certain aspect of the involved technology. Many of the tracks are built from an ostinato as obvious as track B1, Blindside, or track B6, Mesmeric (metaphoric), and as abstract and elusive as track B3, Mind Blight. Track B8,Fight Flight, may be the strongest piece on Mesmerics/Hindsight B with its writhing, squelching, noisey textures that treat periodicity in the broadest, loosest sense.

Mesmerics/Hindsight A & B is a double release contained on a single 90-minute cassette and available as separate digital downloads. Mesmerics/Hindsight A and Mesmerics/Hindsight B may likely appeal to different audiences of electronic music, but they are both well worth the time to investigate. One looks forward to future developments and releases from Bruckmann in the electronic realm.

3 comments:

  1. A heartily Thank You to Ron for this highly interesting post, enjoyed both listen to this demanding music and reading the review, Thanks again, great. Am I seeing it right that the Review Team changed the form of rating and you award if applicable five star, all the rest is review text alone without star? If so that's fine of course, my best Regards and Wishes to the superb freejazzblog's Reviewer-Team, Ciao

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  2. Dear Frazz, thank you for the kind words and your support of the music! Please see the official statement from The Free Jazz Collective on the recent changes to the use of star ratings here: https://www.freejazzblog.org/2022/04/where-did-all-stars-go.html

    All the Best, Ron

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  3. HoiaHeya Ron,thank you for this information, I must have overlooked The Official Statement "Where did all the stars go?", now I read it and the comments, all is clear now, of course we know different rating systems (Stars up to ten, Numbers up to ten, Letters A+ A A- ....), your previous Star System and your actuel system are both fine with me; the most important thing is a competent description of the featured music trimmed with some background details of all kinds, which supports me in building up my own opinion! People constantly evaluate, to know the Reviewers Star Rating is a fine thing for me (and to compare it with mine), so my forecast is that you'll come back to your previous system within several months, but let's see what's coming up, Thanks and Best Regards and Wishes, Ciao Frazz

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