What’s different about sonic openings under pressure?
|The congruence of nature, though, is a condition that often explodes notions of reflection or predictability: volcanoes, floods , waterfalls, tsunamis. Poly-rhythm, syncopation and poly-meter open up a poly-dimensionality in time that is beyond bifurcation as a polar phenomenon. This type of beat has a spherical relationship to direction much like a simultaneous explosion and implosion that radiates out and in all directions respectively. It is a bizarre arrangement that challenges conventional ideas of time and direction. - David Pleasant - Mo' Swing for Everybody|
In a lot of music, rhythm may not be the first musical dimension considered. It may be more likely to be assumed, presumed upon or taken for granted. Within the song form lingua franca of “mainstream” jazz, for example, the relationship tends to be casual. Rhythmic modes are usually referred to vaguely as “straight ahead” or “latin” with details left up to rhythm section “accompanists” while real musical development is expected from “front line” soloists. “Free” jazz may be more egalitarian in this respect, but rhythm may also be even further diffused, often left up to whatever each individual brings to the moment. In many other musics, rhythm may be even complexly articulated but also more or less inflexibly locked (or with variations projected across that static base). Most reductively, rhythm may be simply cast as a background receptacle for measuring out all the other “good stuff” such as harmony, melody, noise or whatever.
In sonic openings under pressure, the rhythm section is not only considered equal with other instruments, but is central to the music’s compositional development where rhythmic parameters function as a primary foreground components. Grooves & patterns, & the relationships among them, act as very specific constituent elements that are extended, developed & varied at an intensity customarily reserved for melody or harmony. Polyrhythmic relationships among voices & modular, multidirectional, extended formal development are consciously integrated into ensemble collaboration. The role of composition in this music is not, as in European rooted practice, to freeze creative activity around a final artifact, but to expand the range & nuance of ensemble improvisation. This creates a thorough, seriously considered music emphatically divergent from euro-concert practice, formally renovative in contrast with mainstream music & deeply coordinated on an ensemble level in order to raise the level of improvisation & invention for the entire group -- thereby bypassing much of the stereotypical inertia endemic to much free music.
David Pleasant’s densemetriX further expands the ensmble's range with his extentions of traditional Gullah Geechie sources, not only through his exquisite percussive resources, concepts & compositions, but also by means of his poetic spoken word rhaps, vocalizations & dance contributions.
Beyond the music itself, these practitioners are also prolifically articulate & communicative about the concepts & processes with which they are engaged. This affords multiple arenas of interaction with both audiences & students, from young participants to University settings, not only in areas such as composition, improvisation & instrumental skills, but also in dance, ethnomusicology, anthropology, the creative process & communications studies. TOP
brennan has done some really interesting things with the concept of drums and rhythms, creating open-ended compositions built not so much around harmonic material as around rhythmic cells and punctuations. It’s compelling not only because it eludes the clichés and stock patterns these kinds of situations can often fall into, but because it’s a great way to structure improvisation — True, brennan loves to flirt with melody — hinting at it, taking it apart, and then tantalizingly sinking his teeth right into it. - Jason Bivins - Cadence, 2004