June 22, 2006
Reverberations From Spring Past
Pax PR 90281
Extrapolating Californias role as avatar of the new, two musicians from San Diego and two from San Francisco produce a nine-track improvisation with very little reference to the musics initial nurturing in jazz.
Awash with squealing rumblings, wave form resonation plus triggered side band sequences, textures from Robert Montoyas electronics and Marcos Fernandes phonographies predominate. Tinctures from Fernandes percussion dont really add up to a steady rhythm, while Ernesto Diaz-Infantes acoustic steel-string guitar licks are wedded to lo-fi manipulation and folk-protest song accompaniment. Because of his instruments soprano and alto saxophones the Bay areas Rent Romus seems the most jazz-like players. But his serrated reed manipulation actually resonates with strategies from the New Thing and BritImprov.
This, by the way, is a description, not a put down. Reverberations From Spring Past works remarkably well in communicating what the four musicians set out to do. After all, Yokomo, Japan-born Fernandes and Tijuana, Mexico native Montoya helped found San Diegos Trummerflora Collective to investigate transference between electrical and acoustical forms. Here, ratcheting strokes on unidentified, metallic objects count as much as Romus reed-biting arpeggios and Diaz-Infantes dense rasgueado frailing. Pre-recorded snippets of conversations, street noises and car movement this is California after all also stud the tracks.
Diaz-Infantes single-string snaps or Montoyas eddying electronic hisses oozing to the foreground more often than not characterize the performances. One of the most distinctive achieves a near perfect electro-acoustic balance. With Fernandes shaking and stroking maracas and a güiro while Diaz-Infante strums and splashes quick rhythms on top of a rippling signal processed surface, Who Created the Cannon includes a wavering tone seeping from Romus saxophone. Mix in a few squealed brake noises and crinkling hisses and you end up with an approximation of Harlem Nocturne played on a mechanical moon.
An Offering of Interconnectedness (Live at Spring Reverb 04) parts 1 and 2 presents an extended version of the strategy with bubbling electronic interface and sequenced squeaks. But except for the greater variety of triggered distortions that sound as if theyre being strained through a mix-master, electronics and some showcased saxophone spetrofluctuation, the 17½ minutes are merely an expanded version of what went before.
Most of the time the din should be accepted as musique concrete found sounds equal to the saxophone licks or drum beats. But perhaps theres an additional subtext as well.
Its suggested at the end of Strife Over Ongoing Evil when one street-side vendor clearly articulates the phrase American Art. Defiantly, the case is being made for this definition of the proceedings. In other words, the CDs rustling patterns, animal growls and sequenced hisses, augmented by the altissimo multiphonics of Romus and the guitarists unvarying ostinato vamps are presented as being legit as any other music.
— Ken Waxman
Track Listing: 1. Premonition 2. My Objectivity, Your Subjectivity 3. Blues for Ezra 4. Elation Within the Collapse of Consensus 5. Who Created the Cannon 6. Strife Over Ongoing Evil 7. Rebuke and Revolt 8. An Offering of Interconnectedness (Live at Spring Reverb 04) Part 1 9. An Offering of Interconnectedness (Live at Spring Reverb 04) Part 2
Personnel: Rent Romus (soprano and alto saxophones, voice, toys); Ernesto Diaz-Infante (acoustic steel-string guitar); Marcos Fernandes (percussion and phonographies); Robert Montoya (electronics)