Tim Daisy. Percussion/Marimba
James Falzone. Clarinet
Fred Lonberg- Holm. Cello/Electronics
Wednesday August 11th
@ The Hideout
1354W Wabansia Ave
With DJ Sets by Jim Baker!
A nice review of the new Vox Arcana Record by Troy Collins:
Allos Documents 004
Following in the footsteps of fellow drummer-composers Harris Eisenstadt and Tyshawn Sorey, ubiquitous Chicago–based sideman Tim Daisy formed the unconventional trio Vox Arcana in 2008 to perform his own pieces. Though technically their sophomore effort (following a limited edition debut), Aerial Age is the first widely available recording of the trio. A protean hybrid of numerous disciplines, this studio album juxtaposes experimental concepts pioneered by New York school composers like John Cage and Morton Feldman, structural aspects of early minimalists like Terry Riley and La Monte Young, and the open-ended strategies of early AACM innovators like Anthony Braxton and Leroy Jenkins.
Largely eschewing pyrotechnics in favor of understated trap set and marimba excursions, Daisy’s nuanced approach is bolstered by the considered support and intimate interplay of two of the Windy City’s most versatile improvisers, clarinetist James Falzone and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. Falzone’s nimble cadences reveal an expansive tone that veers from mellifluous to strident, making a perfect foil for Lonberg-Holm’s chameleonic tendencies, which alternate between dulcet pizzicato and raw, punk rock influenced arco, amplified by a bevy of effects pedals. Whether engaged in three-way dialogues, supportive accompaniment or lone cadenzas, Daisy, Falzone and Lonberg-Holm offer a kaleidoscopic array of texturally adventurous harmonic invention.
Daisy fuses these divergent approaches into a series of episodic compositions that develop through numerous changes in density, mood and tempo. Morse code-like staccato melodies build on knotty contrapuntal interplay, underscored by irregular locomotive rhythms and spare solo sections that transpose jagged themes into expansive meditations on space and sound – refracting the madcap lunacy of Raymond Scott through the mirrored lens of Steve Reich. At other times, exotic atmospheres negotiate extremes of chiaroscuro, cinematically transitioning from bright optimism to ominous darkness. On “Blue Space” and “Chi Harp Call In E,” Daisy’s percolating marimba lines and ritualistic tom-tom rolls accent the mood, supported by Falzone’s sonorous glissandos and Lonberg-Holm’s tender pizzicato and sinewy arco.
The chamber music tilt of the trio’s instrumentation does not prohibit detours into more assertive territory. Lonberg-Holm’s frantic double-stops dominate the angular onset of “The Silver Fence,” while the coruscating waves of white noise emanating from his pedals book-end “Winnemac,” which is smartly offset by an interlude for spare clarinet and percussion. The tortuous closer, “Falling,” deftly invokes jazz tradition, with Daisy’s swinging ride cymbal and fragmented snare rolls fueling circuitous statements from his sidemen, including spry walking bass lines from Lonberg-Holm – a bluesy detour briefly mirrored on “The Silver Fence.”
Falzone’s lyricism, Lonberg-Holm’s timbral diversity and Daisy’s disciplined trap set ruminations provide these labyrinthine works with a lively, albeit sober center. Expanding beyond the prescribed conventions of jazz tradition to incorporate elements of contemporary classical music, Aerial Age documents the impressive talents of Chicago’s next generation of composer/improvisers.