Music Reviews


Greg Kelley, Tatsuya Nakatani, Curt Newton

Field Recordings Volume One: The Birthday



nmperign/Jason Lesc

In Which the Silent Partner Director…


These two releases come courtesy of the excellent Intransitive Records, whose discography includes the work of Brume, Roel Meelkop, and Richard Chartier. All are well know names in the textured sound construction fields. These two CDs take the label into the much different direction of improvised music done with “instruments.”

The press release of this CD led me to believe that the sound quality would be akin to a field recording of a blues singer on his front porch. The recording is much better than I expected, as it was done on a video camera, which occasionally overloads and adds a harsh quality to the mix. The recording gives the album a raw, sharp feel. Everything is loud on these two long tracks, as it should be. The ensemble for this CD is Greg Kelley, also of nmperign, on trumpet, with Tatsuya Nakatani and Curt Newton on percussion. The trumpet frequently embarks on warbly, take-no-prisoners runs, with both percussionists breathlessly pursuing. The percussionists use both a standard trap set, and some kind of instrument, which produces high, shrill, ringing tones. Occasionally Kelley flips his reed over for some hair-raising squeals. Very often the mix gets busy and manic, with all of the musicians going at it like they were a crazed lynch mob. Really, it gets that intense. This is not to say that the entire disc is aggressive. They are quite capable of creating long, droning passages. The second track starts out with some duck calls by Kelley, and intense vocalizations (yelling.) This ensemble knows their strengths, and aren’t afraid to throw their weight around.

The full title for the nmperign/Jason Lescalleet disc is In Which the Silent Film Director is No Longer Able to Make His Point to the Industrial Dreamer . Of the two, this one is more subdued, but subdued in a brooding or playful way. Jason Lescalleet contributes his talent on tapeloops and computer for the first and sixth tracks, which are about half of the CD. nmperign is Greg Kelley and Bhob Rainey on trumpet and soprano sax respectively. On the first track, the tapeloops are warbly and deep. They mound the tension slowly while the trumpet and soprano sax whisper to each other quietly. The piece builds and builds with the tape growing deeper and denser until the tapeloops drop out and the horns are left to fend for themselves. They trade lines back and forth until a drone grows in the background, which soon fades away. The middle 4 tracks, “How it Changes Name When it Changes Hands” parts a-d, are nmperign without electronic assistance. These tracks consist mostly of high-pitched chattering between Rainey and Kelley. Sometimes it sounds like they are playing reeds without an instrument, which results in a squeaky buzzing. Part D however is much slower, with the musicians drawing long, warbling tones out of their instruments. Lescalleet reappears for a solo appearance on the final track, this time on computer (most likely a powerbook.) This adds a very dark, menacing feel to the track. Lescalleet’s laptop frequently erupts into bursts of noise.

These two discs represent different sides of the improvisatory idiom. The packaging for all of the Intransative releases are designed by Richard Chartier, and are all very similar. The CDs are wrapped in a uniquely textured paper stock, and are housed in a small sleeve. This makes all of the CDs instantly recognizable as a quality Intransative product.

Intransative Records, P.O. Box 391151, Cambridge, MA 02139;

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