An Experimental Voyage
If you fancy yourself one who is willing to venture into unchartered waters, we suggest that you listen to Cracked Vessel, a new release from Brooklyn-based musician and composer Ben Syversen. If you are not adventurous, listen anyway. It will do you good!
Our ocean journey begins at Happy House in Brooklyn, with guitarist Xander Naylor and drummer Jeremy Gustin accompanying Mr. Syversen.
The three collaborate on the raucous “Frontman” (track #1), setting us up for “Weird Science” (track 2), that takes us on a contrapuntal ride into a “Bad Idea” (track 3). Here plaintive trumpet sounds progress to a scratchy background, and we sail on to a strong vibrato trumpet blast. In “Untitled” (track 4), we are treated to an extended guitar performance punctuated by a wistful trumpet melody.
Just when we are almost lulled to sleep, we’re introduced to “Krazzle” (track 5), a potpourri of crinkly trumpet blasts underscored by Jeremy Gustin’s drum and cymbal work. So you think you’ve heard enough? Maybe, maybe not! Track 6 is entitled “End of Time” where we encounter the weirdest sounds thus far and a trumpet riff suggestive of a dying and flatulent whale. Ben and company do not let us “go gently into that good night” as there is a rousing coda before we find ourselves down in the depths where sound emanates “From the Abyss” (track 7).
Here, at first, the rudder of Ben’s trumpet moves gently from side to side (reminiscent of bars of music from John Coltrane’s “Seraphic Light” performance), keeping us from becoming entrenched on the bottom of the ocean, progressing to a staccato trill. Before long, several bars of muted trumpet and softly strummed guitar prepare us for a good night’s rest. We may be resigned to enter “Davy Jones’ Locker,” but the tempo gathers just enough momentum to prepare us for the penultimate track “Apparition” (#8). Ghostly sounds make one’s skin crawl here, but I suspect no one who has traveled this far in Cracked Vessel’s anything-goes journey will actually despair. Those who hang on are rewarded by the spicy final track (#9) entitled “Fred Fruit.”
In short, board Cracked Vessel and immerse yourself in a vast ocean of innovation, and travel over a long-submerged land mass of creativity. You may at times be mystified, but you won’t be bored.