“The rhythms on this album are just crazy... But it’s not just a forest of time signatures. What’s really brain-warping are the polyrhythms... The opening ‘Deprong Mori’ is almost enough to give you motion sickness—catchy and yet impenetrable, a spinny ride that keeps swerving at the wrong time... And there are solos—passionate, swinging solos that cut across the time lines, like jazzy braille darting through an other-dimensional sighted world.” — link (Memory Select: Avant Jazz Radio)
“Kronomorfic Makes a Kind of Musical Magic”
“Some music sneaks up on you... This is a kind of jazz that grooves as it also provides some quite sophisticated musical fare. There are African influences and much else besides. Kronomorfic is a total pleasure for those with ears hungry for something beyond the ordinary. There are metrical grooves, highly interesting voicings for the ensemble, interstingly atypical melodies, contrapuntal ensemble densities that keep interest levels high, and some very worthy improvisations, especially from David Borgo.” — link (Gapplegate Review)
“Any detailed description of this phenomenon would baffle the layman, but any comprehensible explanation would insult an expert.” – Kurt Vonnegut
We live our lives in time, but we experience our life across time, as a dynamic and complex overlay of temporal narratives that shape meaning. Folklore, history and culture all saturate space with time, and our personal evolving time-place nexus helps us to make sense of the multiple contexts we embody and experience.
One of music’s most laudable qualities may be its ability to bring us fully into the present, but it does this via its own complex layering of sound, space and time. Infundibula comes from the Latin word for funnel, and it is used to describe, among other things, a variety of funnel-like structures in the lungs, heart, kidneys, ovaries and brain. Kurt Vonnegut adopted the term in his novel The Sirens of Titan to describe a kind of wormhole through time and space "where all the different kinds of truths fit together."
Kronomorfic is a collaborative effort to explore layers of musical time that coexist and interweave in ever more complex interrelationships. The compositions are mostly structured using hybrid rhythmic phrases in polymetric time (e.g., 5/3/4, 7/5/3, 6/7/9, 8/12/15). These hybrid phrases provide the clavé (or “key”) from which the melodic counterpoint, rhythmic modulation and improvisations emerge. For us, Micro Temporal Infundibula are intermediary time strata within these clavés that allow disparate and seemingly conflicting rhythms to communicate with one another.
Deprong Mori was named for a species of bat in Venezuela (the “piercing devil”) believed to be able to penetrate solid objects. Technically the song alternates sections with meters of 10, 9 and 13 beats, but these shifts can be heard as different perceptual facets of a sonic prism that is formed by a single interlocking ostinato. Tehuantepec, the Isthmus that represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, may evoke the marimba melodies from that region, but here they take on an entirely new character in a 10-beat meter. The loping drum and bass patterns of Perambulate create a 3-against-4 feel that underlies the tune’s polychordal harmony and outward-bound solos. Dendochrone Currents, an elliptical reference to the science of tree ring dating, starts with a meditative guitar intro and then establishes a polymeter of 12/15/8 (with the marimba, horns, and bass respectively) before launching into solos over a 6-against-9 feel (with an implied stratum of 4). Gnomon, named for the part of the sundial that casts a shadow, starts with a collective free improvisation that leads into alternating sections of 12 and 9 beats. The soloing is over a heated Balkan-inspired feel that alternates 2-3-2-2-2-3-2-3-2-3 with 2-3-2-2-3-3-3.
Repolarization combines a vibes part in 7, a horn melody in 6, and a bass line in 9. The “polarity” of the title refers to the way in which the horns and vibes synchronize only at the beginning of their phrases in the A sections and only at the end of their phrases in the B sections. Jeannot’s Knife, a French parable about a knife whose blade and handle has been replaced 15 times, raises the question of whether an object which has had all its component parts replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The reference here is both to the way in which the composition unfolded—with an initial rhythmic structure generating a melody that, in turn, implied a different rhythmic structure—and to how the horns and vibes create their melodic phrases anew each time by selecting pitches from a pre-given hexachord. Rhythmically, the vibes and horns phrase in 7-against-5 (heard in the hi-hat), while the bowed bass plays a repeating 7-beat phrase across the meter of 5. The hand drumming cycles with two iterations of the bass line and can be counted 3-3-3-5. The trumpet-with-live-electronics solo by special guest Jeff Kaiser seems to push the paradox of the title even further, as the notion of “component parts” gives way to a feeling of hybridity and distributed agency.
Autopoiesis, or “self-creation,” refers to any system that regenerates itself, acting as both producer and product. It offers a compelling metaphor for the way in which the rhythms of these complex clavés often seem to generate one another. Two clavés are used in this tune: 3/4/5/ and 3/5/7. The bass plays in 5 throughout, while the horn melody modulates between 3 and 7, and the vibes between 4 and 3. Ossuary was inspired (even haunted) by a visit to the ossuary in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic, a chapel with chandeliers, candelabra, chalices and a coat of arms all made from human bones. The tune starts with a clavé of 6/8/5 (in the drums, vibes and bowed bass respectively), which then alternates with a 9/8/6/ clave (in the pizzicado bass, horns, and vibes). The improvised solos happen over the “big 9” in the bass, after which the melody returns and slowly recedes as the drums, bowed bass, vibes and electric guitar all come to rest.