I attended two nights of the Outsound New Music Summit and enjoyed both concerts immensely. But before going into detail, I wanted to post something about Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack, because they’re coming to Los Angeles tonight (July 28) and Sacramento on Monday (July 29).
Having now seen the hour-long piece they’ll be playing, “… Awaits Silent Tristero’s Empire,” I can say that if you’re in either of those locales, you don’t want to miss it.
It’s loads of fun, filled with silly, old-timey-jazz melodies made up to the songs in Thomas Pynchon’s novels. (The piece itself is all instrumental, so Pynchon scholars can have some fun trying to guess which song is which.) Sometimes the melodies are played straight. Sometimes they’ve got some twisty improvised backing, and sometimes they overlap, with half of the septet playing one melody and the other half playing something else (I think I even heard three overlapping songs at one point.)
Bruckmann’s madcap, turn-on-a-dime composing stays mostly upbeat, sometimes relentlessly so, packed with pulse-pounding free-jazz motifs and some vicious soloing. It’s divided into three movements, for V, The Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity’s Rainbow, which might be another point for Pynchon scholars to geek out on: How do the moods of the movements differ, and what’s the relationship to the books?
The piece is certainly packed with improvising and creative moments. The famous screaming across the sky that starts the third movement is represented by a jittery group improv, but the mood doesn’t take long to shift back into skewed cartoon smiles.
And it all launches very quickly, showing off free-jazz chops in the first instants of the first movement. Tim Daisy’s drums have a lot to do with that. He’s an absolute monster, delivering two pummeling, exhilarating solos with distinct personalities.
28 Jul 2013 | WEHO Library, 625 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood | 8:00
The rest of Saturday evening’s Outsound concert was a big success, too, with a packed crowd enjoying debut pieces from Rent Romus and Lewis Jordan. Thursday night’s computer-music show was great as well. More on those later. (UPDATE: It’s now later.)