Timeless Pulse

Timless Pulse Quintet

Mutable Music

Thomas Buckner, voice; George Marsh, percussion; Pauline Oliveros, accordion; David Wessel, live electronics; and Jennifer Wilsey, percussion.

Timeless Pulse Quintet’s CD is packaged quite plainly with a refreshing lack of information. Other than the titles and timings of the pieces, and 3-4 sentence bios of the performers, you get the CD full of music. None of that heavy “read this tome to understand my art” stuff here. You just pop the CD in, push play, and take it in.

The five works on this disc: 21, Healing Piece, Just Play, Light, and Shapes are all free improvisations. The general tone of the disc is one of serene and mellow contemplation which directs the listener to focus on only one thing: listening. The basic form of the pieces stays constant and, truth be told, I had a hard time telling when one track stopped and another track started. It is very easy to ingest the CD as a whole and I recommend that approach. If you don’t have time for the full 70 minutes, you can dip into a single track that meets your immediate temporal constraints.

The performers here are all master musicians who revel in listening and responding to each other. No one voice is dominant, everyone seems to take a back seat to the whole experience. It might go without saying that this music should really be heard live to truly capture the mood and imagination, but I chose to say it anyway. The percussion choices are all delicate and ambient, the accordion is full of big breathy drones, and the live-electronics are subdued and soundscapey. The voice has a tendency to sound like a focal point, but I think that is more of a sociological/psychological phenomenon than compositional choice.

The only problem I ran into with this disc was in the timing of the tracks. The last three tracks are printed with the wrong timings or the timings are right but the titles are wrong. Given the free-form nature of the music, I don’t know that this detail makes much of a difference. The music simply is what it is.

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