Friday, March 04, 2005

Flower After Flower

Susie Ibarra: Flower After Flower. Posted by Hello

Women's History Month is underway at HurdAudio. Tonight the celebration takes the form of Flower After Flower from 2000 by drummer/percussionist Susie Ibarra.

This listening experience features eight compositions by Ibarra that alternate between ensemble and solo pieces drawing from a pool of excellent players: Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet, Chris Speed on clarinet, Assif Tsahar on bass clarinet, Charles Burnham on violin, Cooper-Moore on piano, John Lindberg on bass, Pauline Oliveros on accordion and Ibarra on drums.

"Illumination" opens this disc with a delicate texture of flute, trumpet and percussion. With a prolonged and dynamically variable cymbal roll clarinet and bass are added to the ensemble sound. This piece seems to breath with an elastic sense of time. The ensemble continues to grow over the course of this composition while continuing to sustain the soft fragility of the sonic texture. As the sonic texture grows into less delicate territory the formal construction of this composition feels like a sunrise unfolding over time as the rays of light "illuminate" the piano entry in the final minutes of this piece.

Susie Ibarra has a great sensitivity to the sound of percussion instruments. "Fractal 1" and "Fractal 4" are solo drum works that build intensity out of restrained exploration of timbre. By drawing from a quiet side of the dynamic range she reveals an astonishing variety of colors available on the drum kit. She seems to be applying a meditative, "deep listening" approach to drumming.

"Human Beginnings" is the highlight of this listening experience for me. It's the largest ensemble piece on this disc. There's some satisfying, pulsating groove material in this piece that allows Ibarra's drumming technique and creativity to simmer and cook along side these great players.

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