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Sunday, July 24, 2022

Ali / Foster / Lopez / Wallace - The Inflatable Leviathan (Tripticks Tapes, 2022)

By Keith Prosk

Sean Ali, Michael Foster, Cecilia Lopez, and Eli Wallace play four environments for contrabass, tenor & soprano saxophones, synthesizer, and upright piano on the 47’ The Inflatable Leviathan.

Ali and Foster have previously recorded together with Flin Van Hemmen and Ben Gerstein on While We Still Have Bodies, but otherwise this is the first document of the others together and the debut recording of this working group.

Each track is titled after a layer of earth’s atmosphere above the troposphere and, while I doubt it drives the music, I found the feel of sounds in some aspects of those concepts. Syncopated writhing attacks on saxophone evoke choking as if from a lack of available air and saliva-laden techniques express a stormy turbulence. Synthesizer’s biomorphic abstractions, electric woops, and phaser fire spaceward bound in its sci-fi soundtracks. The bigger-bodied reverberations of upright piano and contrabass emit glowing auroras and the latter’s large strings sometimes vibrate slower for periodic wobbles while the former progressively colors tones like light diffracted through air. Pointillistic shifts in density lend a sense of dispersion and laminations of long soundings overlay like atmosphere strata. Bent notes and singing resonances arc as if by gravity. And parameters like dynamics and speed can develop linearly and then inversely quickly. While I’ve been trying to describe the atmosphere, I hope I’ve also described a group of manifold and energetic methods with an extraordinary depth of texture.

Listen and download from Bandcamp.