Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rob Mazurek and Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Ensemble - The Space Between CD/DVD (Delmark, 2013)

One thing that you can be sure of when you listen to an album by cornetist and musical conceptualist Ron Mazurek is that it will always be something different and it will never be boring. This album fleshes out his Exploding Star Orchestra with additional players like Nicole Mitchell on flute and spoken word recitation by Damon Locks. Although split up into different sections, the music is a through improvised program with sections, but not necessarily breaks. The music itself is fascinating, yet very difficult to describe. Electronic soundscapes that pervade the album definitely recall the Sun Ra Arkestra, but the brass and flute weaving through the sculpted sound brings a completely modern feel to the proceedings. Locks has a commanding voice, and is used to great effect on the spoken parts, but there are also snatches of voice that are sampled and drift like leaves on the wind. The DVD portion is just as inscrutable as the CD version, with a film directed by Marianne Kim that has the music of the CD playing as accompaniment to an experimental film that is split into two parts on either side of the screen. On the left a woman, presumably Ms. Kim, stretches and poses and dances, while on the other side Mazurek stares broodingly and plays his horn (silently un-synched to the music.) Slowly over the course of the film the two sides ease together closing the “spaces between” and bringing to a close one of Rob Mazurek’s most experimental projects. The Space Between - amazon.com

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