Recent listening, current

Thursday, November 7, 2013

147. Either/Orchestra / The Calculus of Pleasure (1992)

Like everything by Either/Orchestra, The Calculus of Pleasure intrigues me. Music by Benny Golson ("Whisper Not"), Horace Silver ("Ecaron"), and Julius Hemphill ("The Hard Blues") bumps against the original work of Bob Nieske ("Consenting Adults," "Grey"), Russ Gershon ("Bennie Moten's Weird Nightmare," "Miles Away"), and Curtis Hasselbring ("Unnatural Pastime"). I love the classic vibe and musical conversations in "Consenting Adults." Nieske then produces a shy ballad in "Grey" that whispers the secrets of its harmonic language more with each successive listen. Gershon's tunes are varied, like "Miles Away," the down tempo, texture-laden tribute to late Miles Davis, or the curious intersections of "Nightingale". In spite of its obviously spirited playing and conception, the whole of Calculus seems restrained and lacks some of the devilishly odd character that endeared me to Half-Life of Desire. The music has held up extremely well in the nearly 25 years since it was recorded. I see this as a rumination in sound rather than a wholesale defection from the grinning muse that inspired Half-Life. As always, E/O's trademark of mixing old with new, enhanced by each member's indelible stamp, creates a codex pointing in several directions simultaneously.

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