Nmperign/Jason Lescalleet

Love Me Two Times
Intransitive Recordings INT 026

Disproving the maxim that two into three won’t go, Berwick, Me.-based tape looper Jason Lescalleet has added an electronically-oriented sheen to the work of the Boston-based nmperign duo on this provocative two-CD set.

Recorded over a six year period in art galleries, clubs, living rooms and elsewhere, Lescalleet appends electronic flanges, shimmers and textures plus found sounds to the lower-case timbres initially produced by Cambridge, Mass. trumpeter Greg Kelley and soprano saxophonist Bhob Rainey. Fascinating – though for the uninitiated only in small doses – the reconstituted performance reveal a certain irony as well.

For Lescalleet has expended his energy to add an electronic element to the bare-bones improvisations of Kelley and Rainey, whose initial raison d’etre is to deconstruct their instruments and thus replicate electronic impulses acoustically.

Spreading the work over 23 tracks that range from 42 seconds to more than 23 minutes, the trio’s two-CD set exposes a variety of strategies. Foremost is the electro-acoustic tenet which alters most every texture in such a way that it’s often difficult to link timbres to any instrument.

Do the wavering and pitch quivering buzz or single sequenced flutter arise from Lescalleet’s machines, either Kelley’s or Rainey’s instrument or some combination of the two? When tones accelerate to shrill squeaks are they created by closely – almost swallowed – miked instruments or samples from Lescalleet?

Looped actualities from celebrity chef Julia Child, children’s entertainer Mr. (Fred) Rogers or unidentified civilians used as counterpoint and commentary on echoing spinning wave forms, crackling static and bell-like ring modulator pings are easier to situate. Yet many times irregular body-tube vibrations and rumbling capillary pressure is fed into the mix soon afterwards or beforehand.

Refractive brass split tones and rasping reed multiphonics – no matter how distorted – make appearances here as well. Most impressive is how the disguised acoustic textures can swell from near-static pure air breaths to organ-like resonance, only to shred back into bare-bones individual braying grace notes in Kelley’s case and irregular tongue slaps, screams and bell-muting pitch vibratos from Rainey. There are even points where polyphonic tremolos prosaically steady improvisations after a session of dual mouthpiece oscillations and reed French kisses.

“Velvet Gloves” is an example of this, as it seems that tape buffers extend the horns’ horizontal drones still further into nearly non-stop loops of solid sound. Eventually triggered sequences are joined by blunt reed trills and tremolo grave notes that encompass metal’s unyielding texture as well as the parts that create sound sources.

“White Wall” comes at the interaction from a different angle, as screaming glottal cries, buzzing reverb and inchoate bubbling slurs interrupt scraping and scratching pitch warbling and a distant solid train-like rumbling. By the finale when additional echoing textures burble just below human hearing, distinct buzzing tremolos and slurs get progressively more abstract then dissolve to nothingness.

Listening attentively and carefully to both CDs will gradually reveal the drama and shading that lurk beneath the interchange and techniques that created Love Me Two Times. Accepting that rhythm, harmony, thematic material and large gestures are purposely kept to a minimum will add to your appreciation of the result.

— Ken Waxman

Track Listing: CDA: 1. The Mystery Disease that Haunts My Town 2. Epenthesis 3. Four Ears 4. Revere 5. Fred 6. Julia 7. No. Eleven 8. HVAC 9. Sword! 10. Metal Gloves 11. Paper Gloves 12. Metal Gloves 13. Presque Isle 14. Hornorable Mention CDB: 1. The Prodigal Bastard 2. White Wall 3. I Remember 4. No. Twenty-seven 5. Bottle at Park 6. Imaginary Friends 7. [blank] 8. This is Ruined 9. Burt Offerings

Personnel: nmperign: Greg Kelley (trumpet); Bhob Rainey (soprano saxophone) and Jason Lescalleet (tape loops)