Glass Triangle

December 5, 2023

Blue and Sunlight
Relative Pitch RPR 1152

Applying extended techniques for an uncommon musical blend, the Grass Triangle’s 10 selections touch on many more sound textures than those suggested by the color and brightness in this CD’s title. Each band member brings an association with particular musical genres to amplify the mix. Refining – if that’s the proper word for tracks that are abrasive and robust – what was begun on their first CD, some of the sonic clues refer to the area(s) in which each is usually found. Known for her work in notated music, American electric harpist Zeena Parkins also has extensive improv experience with Elliott Sharp and others. Although her attitude and presentation is sometimes directed to the Rock spectrum, Danish alto saxophonist Mette Rasmussen also has extensive free music cred with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and others. Meanwhile New York-based drummer Ryan Sawyer has worked with improvisers like Matt Lavelle besides being a member of numerous Rock bands.

The three hit the ground running with martial drum beats, nearly endless drones and tongue stops from the saxophonist and broken-chord echoes and high-pitched oscillated harp string fragments on “Earth O”, the first track, and rarely downshift from there. Pushed against drum press rolls and the harpist’s stop-start voltage whistles, Rasmussen’s output encompasses renal cries, echoing horn body puffs and multiphonic asides. As the session evolves however the trio proves they can unleash dynamics not only at supersonic speeds, but andante or more slowly.

Working up to “Earth OO” the final track, which rounds the circle to the introduction, “doo wap BREAK BREAK”, the penultimate piece, provides a vigorous crescendo. Crackling electrified treble strums from the harp are succeeded by lower-pitched ones which resonate as if mallets have stuck the strings. Meanwhile with Sawyer rattling drum tops and bell ringing, space is made for a saxophone showcase. Rasmussen screeches tone fragments upwards, then creates a stratified collection of multiple examined and emphasized reed tones. On earlier tracks floating string plinks and relentless drum pumps prevent the irregularly vibrated split tones and squeaks from passing the threshold of connectivity.

Electrified harp oscillations and music-box like tinkles from the percussionist help coral aviary reed trills and bubbling smears into a layered exposition. That is until “Reveille”-like bugling from the saxophonist signals a pivot into a final measured groove that leans heavily on the harpist’s dial-twisting timbral expansion. Not an easy listen, Blue and Sunlight can still track the evolution of three separate, usually antagonistic textures into mutual exploration and parallel intersection.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Earth O 2. Triangular Globe 3. mosquito mind 4. [Moth] Territory – Full Length Mirror 5. Seraph 6. Beaming/becoming chrystal 7. Spine 8. Glass Spell 9. doo wap BREAK BREAK 10. Earth OO

Personnel: Mette Rasmussen (alto saxophone, objects and voice); Zeena Parkins (electric harp and objects) and Ryan Sawyer (drums and objects)