Clean Feed Records 2016
Like the measured stretching of a slingshot before its release, like Hall of Fame relief pitcher “Goose” Gossage’s daunting pre-windup stare down from the mound under the tip of his cap before each batter he faced or like the lull before the storm – Dre Hocevar’s Transcendental Within the Sphere of Indivisible Remainder (his fourth recording as leader) is a 48+ minute investigation of sound featuring a pattern of patient but continuous coils and recoils of individual and especially collective impressions and vibrations birthing quick and at times seamless rewarding releases of music momentum.
The far-from-traditional nonet includes Sam Pluta (live electronics/signal processing), Aaron Larson Tevis (trumpet), Bryan Qu and Mette Rasmussen (saxophones), Jeremy Corren (piano), Zack Clarke (synthesizer), Lester St. Louis (cello), Henry Fraser (bass) and Hocevar (drums). However, where and who the respective sounds emanate from within the ensemble at any given moment fascinatingly turn out to be far less vital than the group’s overall musical arch and sound direction, a fact further accentuated in no small part by the session’s electro-acoustic element. Pluta and Clarke successfully blur the lines with their processed interactions and contributions to the experimental strings of St. Louis and Fraser, the extended techniques from the reeds of Qu and Rasmussen and trumpet of Tevis as well as the leader’s cymbal scrapes and sudden arrhythmic accents. It might not to be too far-fetched to say that Corren’s piano can be heard as the session’s sole (soul) and solid acoustic anchor (that is until Corren plays his instrument’s strings from the inside). It’s a challenging atmospheric soundscape, even dreamscape – one that summons extravagant images and stories dependent on the respective listener’s open ears and imagination.
As soon as the proverbial needle drops, word to the wise: leave all preconceptions behind, particularly after Hocevar’s momentarily teasing and almost misleading introductory (and probably most “traditional”) rhythmic remarks are engulfed by Pluta: like the rabbit attracting Alice down into that hole, Hocevar has you hook, line and sinker! What ensues for the next near-50 minutes is a sound exploration demanding undivided attention and intent listening. And what immediately becomes apparent is: as significant as the destination may turn out to be, it is – like with any memorable road trip – the journey that supersedes the importance of whatever or wherever is the literal and figurative destination. Open those ears and fasten your seat belts…
Managing Editor, The New York City Jazz Record