Album Review

Bruckmann/Diaz-Infante/Shiurba/Stackpole – “Grand Mal ” – [Pax Recordings (Sf)]

Max Level   8/10/2008   A Library, CD

Improvised sounds from this quartet of fine musicians, recorded in Oakland on New Years Day 2002. Ernesto Diaz-Infante and John Shiurba (guitars), and Karen Stackpole (percussion/metal stuff) are well-known for their many local projects, while Kyle Bruckmann (reeds) was a fixture on the Chicago scene until relocating to the Bay Area a couple of years ago. Bruckmann is mostly on oboe and English horn, two instruments I have not heard much in improvised music, however he???s making sounds one would not normally expect from those particular instruments; you???ll hear him doing unpredictable??squeaking/squawking/droning things. Some of the pieces explore a slow humming soundscape type of territory; other pieces are more active while still quite subtle???the players lightly move about, leaving plenty of space for your ears to catch the nuances. Diaz-Infante??is perhaps the subtlest of all; I hear small percussive sounds that may or may not be his acoustic guitar.??Interesting stuff as usual from Pax Recordings.

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