More Touch showcases composer and improviser Patricia Brennan’s percussion quartet. The group consists of Brennan on marimba, vibraphone, and electronics, with Marcus Gilmore on drums, Mauricio Herrera on percussion, and Kim Cass on bass. The record blends her experiences with top orchestras in Mexico and leading jazz improvisers from her adopted home, New York.
Brennan is inspired by the world around her. “El Nahualli (Shadow Soul) draws inspiration from Mexican folklore about shape shifting spirit guides. “The Woman Who Weeps” is inspired by the Mexican Catholic image of the Mother of Sorrows, a source of comfort during times of despair. Mathematics and astronomy serve as jumping off points for “Square Bimagic” and “Sizigia (Syzygy),” respectively.
The sounds on More Touch are at times ethereal and yet very grounded. “Unquiet Respect” is grounded in Afro-Caribbean rhythms over which Brennan’s vibes dance. On “More Touch” the electronic treatments on the vibes give the song a trippy, space rock feel that goes into an ayahuasca hallucination on “El Nahaulli.”
More Touch lives at the intersection of composed and improvised music. Its natural audience is somewhat limited to esoteric types, but I could see this record gaining popularity with neo-Prog rock fans who look fondly at early Pink Floyd experimentation.