Jeremiah Cymerman: clarinet; Christopher Hoffman: cello; Brian Chase: percussion
Don’t be led astray by the “dark ambient” definition utilized by Jeremiah Cymerman in his website to vaguely indicate how Pale Horse sounds. The record’s textural formation exposes the type of sustained tenseness – often without an actual liberation (except perhaps for the very conclusion) – that usually preludes to a major rupture, the players effectively exercising the variability of intonation of the respective instruments according to a sort of cosmically obscure purity. The favored method consists of outspread exhalations where contiguous pitches bring forth shadows of nail-biting motility and troubled thoughtfulness. The ebbing and flowing is patched by percussive digressions, stretched fragments of partials, dampish noise, dilatory reverberations.
In turn, each musician – always within an agglomerative compass – finds a way to get noticed: Hoffman’s control of the wood-scented chambers of grievous tone is arresting, Chase’s tuned skins and subsonic resonances acting as environmental enhancement frequently steal the (subdued) show, occasionally calling to mind an underwater consort. Cymerman’s command of corrugated reed stimulation corresponds to the image of a silent leader who does not consider himself as such. I couldn’t recall a valid comparison for this music at the moment; one might think to atmospheres related to early Univers Zero in certain shards of “Ghost”, for example, but even this relative assonance doesn’t really furnish us with a correct intellectual relation with the organic qualities and the genuinely anxious breathing emitted by the work. For sure it’s not stuff for seaside postcard collectors: the few rays of light will derive from your own interior oscillations as soon as you get acquainted with this trio’s unquietly reticent strength.