Morris: Close Reeding

Album cover art for upc 300844060391
Label: Ravello
Catalog: RR8041

Kisiedu, Harald; Sarjasto, Johannes; Timonen, Kalle van; Heikinheimo, Ilmari; Beaster-Jones, Jayson; Morris, Jeff; Variego, Jorge Elias; Larsen, Nana Pi Aabo

Jeff Morris presents his fourth Ravello Records release, this one focusing on woodwinds and employing his characteristic live sampling and electronics. CLOSE REEDING is the latest since HEARING VOICES, an album which set its sights on the most fundamentally-human musical instrument: the human voice. Now, Morris turns his attention to woodwind instruments, which he terms the “next most human” family of instruments. By way of digital manipulation and live improvisation, Morris gives this thesis a convincing exposition. One might think of the “humanness” of a saxophone as being diametrically opposed to the cold, binary logic of a computer. As Morris sees it, the electronic interface that Morris controls is extremely sensitive to the input it receives, outlining its operator’s humanity in a sort of digital "counter-relief." CLOSE REEDING is an unchoreographed dance between Morris and the instrumentalist. Pulsating with the thrill of live performance, the musicians react to each other, and somehow, the machine seems to add its own artistic choices to the composition as well. While most of the tracks feature a single woodwind instrumentalist going head to head with Morris, What’s in a Whisper, a 4-movement piece, includes not only an alto saxophone but also a drum set and synthesizers. By isolating split-second musical moments, Morris draws out each instrument’s range of timbral complexity with microscopic clarity—giving serious credence to the title CLOSE REEDING.

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