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gasps & fissures
Signal to Noise
Tom Djll
Kyle Bruckmann recently relocated from Chicago to San Francisco, and musically this boy's all over the map. His curriculum vitae includes the noise / punk / junk band Lozenge, an austere electroacoustic duo with Ernst Karel, jazz-leaning fisticuffs with skronkmeister Scott Rosenberg, another jazz/modernest clique yclept Wrack, and far-flung collabs with subsets of the various scenes from Boston to Vienna.

gasps & fissures is not Bruckmann's first solo outing. 1999 saw the Barely Auditable release entymology, which is more "pure" solo music, belonging to a lovable but geeky universe of extended-technique dissertations on disc, all of them naked and unadorned, unadulterated by computer or editing-block slight-of-ear. (And I guess we have Chicagoan Anthony Braxton to thank for opening up this Pandorama of techni-centric solo musics.)

This new album is several steps beyond Bruckmann's earlier recorded solo work in both manual technique and production techniques. This is something to celebrate, as non-oboists can embrace this one as much more listenable music, full of delightful twists and turns and compositional puissance. While it opens with a fantastically-played construction of gasps, hisses and key-clicks ("Expository"), there's a good deal of full-frontal post-production used throughout gasps. "Exponential" mutitracks close-mic'ed keypad clicks into frenzied drumming, joined at the appropriate moment by wheezing faux-Pygmy chanting before it curls up to snore itself itself into somnolence. It's a very satisfying bell-curve traversal across the ear-scape.

On "Elsewhwere" Bruckmann's opening gambit is manual mutli-tracking - playing oboe and English horn simultaneously, sounding like a one-note khaen. Notably, Bruckmann doesn't use circular breathing on this piece, leaving in the fits and starts and breath-gaps - which naturally open up little fissures in the soundscape. Then, a huge mass of iceblue glacier drops into it; some kind of electronic noise-wall. This is great shit, turned up loud. It's like a kazoo band doing a Scelsi turn, with the Radio City Music Hall organ thrumming behind it. Eventually the organ kicks the funsters offstage and drones on - of course, it's shimmering sheets of massed double reeds - ganging up on a towering E-natural chord, over time unfolding ever-higher harmonics. Again, following a bell-curve shape, the harmonic mass slowly folds back into itself until just the fifth and the octave are left. Bruckmann perversely finishes the ritual off with a couple of minutes of seltzer-glass snorts. It's a blasphemous ending for this unholy thesis on the art of solo double-reeds.

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