Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nate Wooley, Paul Lytton, and Ikue Mori - Live at The Chapel of the Holy Innocents, Bard College, 03/08/2011

Trumpeter Nate Wooley, percussionist Paul Lytton, and electronics/laptop noise-ateer Ikue Mori came together at Bard College in the spring of 2011 for this 40-minute improvised set, and I’m fairly sure this is the one and only recording that exists of the performance (thanks to Goro, I believe, for capturing it). Lytton's drumming swings from propulsive and cacophonous to nuanced and textural. Mori's electronics are scattering, piercing, and industrial-ish, with whooshing swarms of feedback and crumbling static thrum. Wooley, as always, proves himself to be an incredibly exciting horn player, relying almost as much upon the instrument to modify the sound of his breath as the opposite, and seamlessly shifting between dizzying free-jazz assaults and far subtler, more textural sound explorations. There is very little friendly about this piece. It’s unsettling, even hostile, and at times downright ferocious. It’s a thrilling listen, however, in part because all three performers seem truly in sync with one another on a really meaningful level, taking the piece in unexpected directions that just work. This kind of music and approach to performing can so easily fall flat and become aimless and meandering if all the performer’s aren’t at the top of their game. Luckily (and not at all surprisingly) Wooley, Lytton, and Mori knock it out of the park. 

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