Title - 'Fifth Season'
Artist - Ben Zucker
For those unaware, the just-released Fifth Season (on the artist-run collective Amalgam Records) is the bandleader debut of multi-instrumentalist composer and improviser Ben Zucker.
Currently based in Chicago, Ben's music draws upon a varied practice combining experimental forms and styles, the product of studies and collaborations across North America and the UK.
Ultimately, his concerns as a music maker are about experience, and how we come to understand the world as it unfolds in real time and place ourselves in it in new yet responsible (response-able) ways.
The music of Fifth Season, in particular, enables active collaboration and creativity through setting up improvised contexts via narrative text.
By using long-form prose descriptions of gestures and textures, the forms of the music are guided yet open-ended, and content is constantly made anew in the moment.
It has allowed the music to come to life in many different ways in the hands of various performers, who are able to bring their vocabularies to the fore and merge it with the "notation".
Adam Shead (John Dikeman, Jason Stein, leader of the Adiaphora Orchestra), Eli Namay (Jer'af, Phil Sudderberg, Gilded Records), and Mabel Kwan (Ensemble Dal Niente, Deerhoof, Restroy) likewise represent a wide range of the city's strong communities of new music.
1. 'Sussurigation A'
2. 'Fifth Season: I'
3. 'Fifth Season: II'
4. 'Fifth Season: III'
5. 'Fifth Season: IV'
6. 'Moths Eating the Wallpaper of Concorde'
7. 'Sussurigation B'
8. 'Sixth Skin Pataforming'
Opening this vibrantly alive, always alluring and truly enticing album, and one of such incredibly documented musical communications and explorations at that, is the lo-fi magnificence of the vibraphone-infused, and briskly enhanced percussion work of 'Sussurigation A' which in turn is backed by the four chapters of the title track.
First is 'Fifth Season: I,' a chance for the tempo to be raised somewhat and that's followed neatly by the drum-led 'II,' then both we get the explorative precision of 'III,' and finally the flirtatiously perky, upright bass work and key work of 'IV.'
The longest track at just under 12 minutes here on the album is the impressive instrumentation shown within the hallowed, spatial confines of 'Moths Eating the Wallpaper of Concorde', where yet more experimental visions are fleshed out, with the album rounding out with the, at times, coquettish chamber music of 'Sussurigation B' eventually feeding into the darker, industrialized at times, stretched, contorted and even cinematic in nature, 'Sixth Skin Pataforming.'
Ben Zucker - Vibraphone
Mabel Kwan - Piano
Eli Namay - Upright bass
Adam Shead - Drums
'The Tell' Official Purchase Link
Ben Zucker @ Facebook