The rhythm section of MiND operates in orthodox and unorthodox ways. Often it plays the traditional role of creating a rhythmic and harmonic foundation, but elsewhere it constructs analogous ambient foundations primarily through the use of color and texture. And sometimes it abandons the traditional functions and lexicons altogether. The ensemble attempts to embrace timbral variation and expansiveness on an equal footing with harmonic shading, and to do so fluidly and organically.
In addition to relatively familiar approaches to the piano and drumset, both Maroney and Drury employ an array of unorthodox techniques. Denman Maroney plays “hyperpiano,” using copper bars, rubber blocks, brass bowls, wood dowels, and other objects on the strings. Often the objects change the string length and therefore pitch (3, 4, 6, 8); sometimes they create a strumming or bowing effect (5, 7). These effects range from subtle changes in the sound to otherworldly soundscapes. Andrew Drury’s effects blend so seamlessly with Maroney’s that at times it is hard to distinguish one from the other. Most of Drury’s techniques relate to his manipulation of the harmonic characteristics of drum membranes. In this regard he employs bamboo skewer friction (1, 5), pressure and positioning of bells (1, 2, 5, 8), and vibrations resulting from bowing a dustpan and other objects (4, 6, 8). Drury also uses his breath: to inflate drums, to vibrate bells with air pressure, and to create noise and tones with the air flow, in and out of the drum (1, 5).
It is perhaps the bass that forms the strongest link between the shifting colors of the rhythm section and the melodic intrigue of the saxophone. Given the single-line nature of the two instruments, this relationship does make sense as a contrast to the multiplicity of textures created by the many strings and surfaces of the piano and drums. A tandem is created between Niescier's excited reed and Ilgenfritz's bowed strings, as a kaleidoscope of harmonic detail shifts around the fundamental pitches.
The ensemble nonetheless is a full entity, moving together, ebbing and flowing. The music is in some ways not unlike a jaunt through New York traffic... albeit one that is infinitely more focused on mutual support and commonality of intent. There is constant shift of relationships and directionality, as sounds dart out from behind other sounds, and everyone ultimately gets somewhere-- but the ride is always as important as the destination.
released September 24, 2012
Angelika Niescier – alto saxophone
Denman Maroney – hyper piano
James Ilgenfritz – double bass,
Andrew Drury - drumset