An absorbing album, consisting of three tracks divided on the two sides of a LP. Participants include notable names, among them trombonists Stuart Dempster and Julian Priester, trumpeter Cuong Vu and pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn. However, Kang’s music does not advocate the identification of single voices. Everything is organized according laws of cultivated proportionality and ethereal appearance, which is what ultimately results as a general impression.
There’s not excessive substance for analytic thinking, in spite of the relative wisdom transmitted by these scores. The title track communicates a feeling of peaceful mystery, revolving as it is around impalpably reverberant nuances and sloping parallelisms followed by sections where the instruments (augmented by Jessika Kenney’s voice) seem to describe exclamations of astonishment or sorrowful cries, the trombones representing an image of fullness and physical power amidst more rarefied timbral concoctions. A noisier conclusion introduces a degree of tenuous distress.
While “Monadology” is nothing but a slightly dissonant minimalist exercise performed with gracile weightlessness by all the players, “Thick Tarragon”, which occupies the entire second side, gains its effectiveness from the clever placement of harmonics, overtones and acute pitches, either grouped in clusters or dispersed across the stereo field. The combinations work quite well, giving life to several moments of unconditioned rational repose without scents of commonness. Not a minute of tedium – neither in this episode, nor elsewhere.
A typical example of unambiguous conception enriched by forethought and cognizance. No revolutions under any point of view, but a substantial record that is destined to be remembered as a crucial step in Kang’s discography.