Andrew Bernstein: An Album Review Presentation

If you have a preconceived idea of ​​what a saxophone is supposed to do in experimental music, leave it at the door before entering Andrew Bernstein. a presentation. The sax wasn’t even designed do the things that Bernstein makes him do; as a monophonic instrument subject to the limited resource of the player’s breath, it is inherently opposed to long-playing polyphonic drone pieces like the three that make up a presentation. But by layering saxophone layers in dense chords, Bernstein recast his instrument as a kind of reed organ. Instead of the Coltrane-Sanders-Ayler continuum, Bernstein exploited the 2018s An exploded view of time and in his work with the Baltimore Horse Lords you might rather think of the pipe organ music of Sarah Davachi and Kali Malone, or that of Phill Niblock Four full flutes, or Pauline Oliveros Accordion & Voice, or maybe Homer Simpson pass out at the horn of his car on the way to Duff Gardens.

a presentation sounds like a lot more than a solo saxophone album, and yet it never seems to make much of the fact that it’s done entirely on saxophone. Aside from the breath control needed to sustain the notes, this slow, simple music isn’t particularly conducive to virtuosity, and it doesn’t try to coax sounds from the instrument that no one has ever thought of. to coax before. The album revolves around a simple, rather brilliant idea: Why not use this instrument to make this music? There’s no reason it shouldn’t have been played on a polyphonic instrument, and that’s kind of the point. The irrational pursuit of its making is as much a part of the appeal as the music itself.

It also suits the stubbornness, stubbornness and immobility of these three pieces: the “in flux” of almost half an hour and two shorter pieces which oppose Bernstein’s saxophone to sonorities of electronic drones. If you have a twinge of heart while looking at the Pyramids of Giza or the Three Gorges Dam or the Merchandise store, you will find something to like in this music. It’s empty, featureless stuff, devoid of rhythm, melody or texture beyond the light grain of Bernstein’s tone or the occasional phasing between two layers of vibrato. The brain begins to think architecturally, and the different layers of saxophone begin to look like logs in a cabin or posts in a fence. a presentation triggers the brain for the same reason an isolation tank does: in the absence of anything to hold on to, it begins to fill in the blanks.


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