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Nmperign - Ommatidia (2009)
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Nmperign - Ommatidia (2009)

21-06-2015, 11:03
Jazz | FLAC / APE

Nmperign - Ommatidia (2009)

Artist: Nmperign
Album: Ommatidia
Released: 2009
Label: Intransitive Recordings
Genre: Jazz, Free Improvisation, Experimental
Quality: FLAC
Bitrate: Lossless
Total Time: 38:01
Total Size: 177 MB
WebSite: discogs


1. Glass (6:42)
2. Variation II (5:54)
3. Prey (6:42)
4. Fault (4:37)
5. Variation V (6:33)
6. Dalton (7:33)

Soprano Saxophone – Bhob Rainey
Trumpet – Greg Kelley

"You can look at any individual note in a melodic phrase and fit it into countless harmonic possibilities," the Boston-based improv duo Nmperign told Foxy Digitalis recently. "If you look at three notes, there are fewer possibilities. Twelve notes, far fewer." The pair was discussing Ornette Coleman's "harmolodics," but that more-is-less philosophy also fits Nmperign's music. Trumpeter Greg Kelley and soprano saxophonist Bhob Rainey deal primarily in slow, sparse sounds-- sounds that approach, and sometimes achieve, total silence. By treating each moment as an opportunity rather than just another stepping stone, they give all their squeaks, breaths, and noises a tension that hectic music usually avoids.
Over the past decade or so, this kind of improvisation has been called many things-- reductionism, lowercase music, laminal music, "the new silence." And those labels have been slapped on everyone from Spanish sound artist Mattin to British bassist Mark Wastell, to American drummer Sean Meehan, to the wealth of fine musicians on the Erstwhile label. Since most of these artists are free improvisers, open to all sounds and styles, it's not surprising that they often bristle at these labels-- Mattin and Wastell even made a record in 2006 called Reductionism Is Dead.
Still, if all of this constitutes even a loose genre, Nmperign are surely amongst its leaders. In the decade-plus that they've played together, Kelley and Rainey have partnered with many like-minded musicians-- experimental sound artists Jason Lescaleet, Günter Müller, Alex Dörner-- as well as rock-leaning colleagues like Akron/Family and Damon & Naomi. In fact, they've been so busy with collaborations that this is the first studio album made by themselves. But it's no debut-- every second here shows how the pair's sonic communication has become as natural as spoken language.
Exactly what makes up their language is hard to pin down. It's easy enough to catalog all the nouns and verbs and see Ommatidia simply as a collection of tones, growls, and shrieks. But it's the sentences-- the way Kelley and Rainey arrange sounds and silences into commas and periods-- that produce magic. Some moments do capture the whole-- take the interlocking tones at the end of opener "Glass", the bursts of blare that cut hard to silence in "Prey", the windy whistling in "Variations V". But none of those moments would be as effective without what comes before and after. And though Nmperign's open approach makes everything spontaneous, you'll be surprised by how logical and structured it can all sound.
Of course, logic and structure here are relative terms-- in the context of all music, Nmperign's is an acquired taste. Even if you know this style well, you have to switch mental modes to fully absorb it. Put Ommatidia on as background, and its bursts of activity might cut through, but you'll miss a lot of it, too. Engage directly, though, and Kelley and Rainey's menagerie of sounds become more fascinating the closer you zoom in. In fact, maybe we should call Nmperign "expansionist." Their music may seem "reductionist," but its effect-– they way it increases your attention and expands your senses-- is far from minimal. - Marc Masters,

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