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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

If, Bwana; Water, Flowing

If, Bwana is an avant garde new music conflagration formed by Al Margolis in 1984. They have a couple of new releases out, and we cover today the 23-minute EP Water, Flowing (Pogus, DL only). It is an exercise, a poem in long tones that suggests flow. Single tones alternate with unisons where one of the voicings is a microtone off to create a beating of the sound.

Actually there are two parts, "Flowing" and "Water". The latter thickens the texture with more multi-voiced tones that form complex dissonances in minor seconds. They are juxtaposed with long, single tones and unison beating tones depending on the moment. I hear saxophones and clarinets in the mix. The dissonant clusters give off multiple-beatings that transform the sound so that you get the feeling you are listening to electro-acoustic components in the clouds of tone. But this I believe is created wholly out of conventional acoustic instruments and the acoustic properties of the tones themselves sounding together--without being subject to any acoustical processing.

It gets one's attention and holds it there with the deceptively simple means from which it begins and out of which it grows.

If you revel in unusual avant music that has singular purpose and a trajectory of realization that gives you sound elements to ponder and internalize, this one will give you something to do that with. If, Bwana can always be counted upon to be provocative, experimental, and a force on the avant new music fringe. They continue that here. Is this for everybody? Probably not. It's more for the confirmed avant listener.

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