Friday, March 11, 2016

Recording: Kyle Brenders Ensemble

Artist: Kyle Brenders

Song: Grasslands [4th mvt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Main Hall (Somewhere There Creative Music Festival – Show 3), February 27, 2016.

Kyle Brenders Ensemble - Grasslands [4th mvt]

Now stick with me here — this "Kyle Brenders Ensemble" is not to be confused with the Kyle Brenders Large Ensemble (which is, in fact, smaller than this one), or the Kyle Brenders Big Band or any other big band that Brenders is associated with. So far as I can tell, this particular ensemble came about more specifically for this gig, and was geared more towards a sort of large-format electroacoustic exploration than to play any of Brenders' more melodic (but still oft-tricky) material. With laptops, turntables and electronics on hand, the members1 here navigated through six movements of a sprawling, forty-five minute piece called "Grasslands", with scratchy acoustic creaks alternating with (and then complementing) the electronic interferences. The sonic zones included menacing hums, ambient apprehensiveness, and doom-drones before closing out with a minimalist repetition groove. None of which should be taken to mean that this music was "academic" or too precious — at several points, it felt like the key comparison here was to some of the more arranged and experimental releases on Constellation Records. Brenders casually commented afterwards that this performance might be the last for this unit, but this should definitely be brought back for an encore.

1 The full lineup for this ensemble was:

  • Kyle Brenders (saxophones, electronics)
  • Ben Grossman (hurdy gurdy, electronics)
  • Germaine Liu (percussion)
  • Peter Lutek (clarinet, electronics)
  • Karen Ng (alto saxophone)
  • Cheldon Paterson (turntables)
  • Nicole Rampersaud (trumpet)
  • Nick Storring (cello, electronics)
  • Brandon Valdivia (drums)
  • Doug Van Nort (electronics)

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