Courtney Orlando, violin; Evan Price, violin; Kurt Rohde, viola; Marco Mazzini, clarinets; Michael Formanek, bass; Christopher Froh, percussion; Nasar Abadey, drums
At first, I thought this disc was another great example of insightful free-improvisation. Each player takes great care to contribute to a fundamental aesthetic per track and makes groovy, understated, or rhapsodic lyrical music as the track demands. Then, I read the CD notes. It turns out that Fernando Benadon, the mastermind behind this disc, recorded each player doing free improv in isolation from the other players. Benadon then took the helm of mixmaster and chiseled together these insightful and intuitive (hence the disc name) tracks.
The end result is a breezy sounding ensemble that is never too heavy or too meandering. This music could easily be foreground or background in any of a thousand hip settings. It sounds like performers that have a mature working relationship and an excellent set of ears.
The conflict between the natural sound of the group and the unnatural story of the recording is equal parts engrossing, maddening, and bewildering. I expect this disc to spark up the conversation about the truth (or lack thereof) in the recording process. I’ll leave that discussion aside and say that I like where Benadon’s ears are and I look forward to hearing more.