Monday, February 16, 2009

Conversant and Extended

Reuben Radding/Jen Baker + DJ Sniff/Keir Neuringer @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reuben Radding: bass
Jen Baker: trombone

DJ Sniff: turntables, electronics
Keir Neuringer: alto saxophone, electronics

Extended technique is simply a matter of fact - an expansive set of tools in the service of improvised exigency - in the spontaneous dialogue between bass and trombone as practiced by Reuben Radding and Jen Baker. Clothes pins clipped onto nodal points on a pair of strings between the finger board and the bridge slanting the timbre toward a "prepared" buzz compliments the mouthpiece-free playing on trombone. The calm, and exquisitely musical interplay between improvisers downplays any sense of extraordinary ends employed. Weaving an impressive balance of connected and independent parts tempered by audible musicianship. The two minds at work displayed an uncanny sense of timing that allowed for natural contours to develop and the rare improvisational feat of collaborative conclusions.

The DJ Sniff/Keir Neuringer set that followed offered a more postured, amplified and aggressive sense of dialogue and play. Neuringer frequently mined the "blowing one's brains out" method of saxophone to the point of breathless exhaustion while DJ Sniff propelled the texture forward with cascades of beats. Sniff would occasionally take his textures to natural extremes that explored textures of barely contained noise. Neuringer's contribution to the electonic mix featured processed cassette tapes of pre-recorded materials. The timing of vocal or stylistic "punch lines" dropping in late in the set straddled a terrain between John Cage's Variations IV and a collage mix of pulse colliding with counter-pulse.

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