Featuring the services of foremost exponents of today’s improvisation – find list and contributions at the above link as always – Rhythm Complication (nomen omen) could nevertheless be regarded as a computer/free music compound capitalizing on acoustic timbres that can remain undiluted, become barely distinguishable via intense processing, or actively survive in a storm of transfiguring energies.
Bassist Clayton Thomas and percussionist Burkhard Beins are esteemed ninjas in this ambit, their specialty being the distillation of essential substances from the molecular activity of a given timbre. The virtual combinations occurring in these four tracks denote the clear intention of erecting a compositional framework from a palette rich in motility and concreteness. This they did through a fastidious work of reconfiguration still informed by the improvisational traits typical of the source material.
This is not going to be palatable fast food for an average audience. The almost total absenteeism of a “normal” hypothesis of resonance (read: forget about droning placidity or lowercase whispering) coerces the listener into the extreme multifariousness of the dynamic complexion. In the pieces comprising the brass instruments, the latter’s tonal characteristics are exploited with the purpose of highlighting physical transiency (as opposed to merging voices that stay in place for too long). The husky repercussion of Robin Hayward’s tuba in this circumstance may be specially in evidence but, most definitely, Liz Albee, Hilary Jeffery and Matthias Müller didn’t come to collect daisies. It’s tough stuff.
The episodes with the piano are a tad more dramatic in terms of vibrational lustiness, yet equally cryptic. My favorite section includes Chris Abrahams’ turbulent arpeggios in the bass register: sliced and looped, they entangle with Thomas’s vehement arco, in turn eliciting clamorous upper partials and other types of abnormal howl. After minutes in which the keyboard keeps rumbling and growling, Beins shatters any residual ratiocination by superimposing bowed cymbals, various knocks and thuds and heaven knows what else to induce genuine hell. By playing this part loud, expect several “apartment for sale” signs appended all over your condominium from the subsequent morning. The concluding chapter – with Magda Mayas and Thomas Meadowcroft, whose organ blasphemously emits chords in a couple of instances – affirms a sense of fractal sinewiness. Moreover, at last a minimum degree of “melodic twist” stands there to be observed – although inevitably remoulded – amidst considerable quantities of idiosyncratic tremors.
The sort of cure that fortifies both the brain and the spirit.