Tigersmilk

Android Love Cry
Family Vineyard FV45CD

Geared more towards electronic-tinged improv than his other projects, the co-op trio Tigersmilk makes full use of Dylan van der Schyff’s understated yet rhythmically encompassing percussion licks. The Vancouver-based drummer serves as perfect foil for Chicago bassist Jason Roebke, whose electric and acoustic contributions are even more self-effacing than van der Schyff’s work, plus the fluttering synthesizer oscillations and muted rubato washes of cornetist Rob Mazurek, a Chicagoan now resident in Brazil.

Long-time proponent of genre-mixing with his various-sized Chicago Underground bands, Mazurek sometimes uses blurry electronics to clone his chromatic grace notes and concentric slurs, bouncing them back onto subsequent note clusters. Yet while his Harmon-muted runs may define the CD’s landscape, the focal point shifts among the trio members.

“Already Crippled by Water and Wind” for instance, matches echoing brass timbres with adagio triple strokes from the drummer. Meanwhile Roebke’s electric bass thumb-popping and thick stops carve through fluttering wave forms to define “Falling Signals Rising” as succinctly as the brassman’s vaulted brass tones. “Minimal Distress Code” even creates common sonic ground among the bassist’s sawing spiccato timbres, the drummer’s single-cymbal resonation, van der Schyff click clacking on the wooden parts of his kit plus Mazurek’s claw-hammer banjo stroking.

Although near musique concèrete pulsations are exposed elsewhere, together the CD’s 13 tracks defy an all-in-one musical definition for Android Love Cry. What they do confirm is that Tigersmilk operates in its own sonic zone.

— Ken Waxman

— For CODA Issue 335