Jeremiah Cymerman is taking himself and his music on another unplanned trip into the unknown, and this time he is bringing others along with him. Sky Burial (5049) has him continuing his clarinet voyages but this time around he is joined by Nate Wooley and Peter Evans on trumpet, and saxophonist Matt Bauder, who also helps out on clarinet and electronics. While it is a burial in the sky, the sounds are more down-to-Earth, if not the kind of sounds one might expect to hear in a city alley way as one heads into a traffic jam. Either that, or some of these sounds could be the calling of spirits, if one believes in that sort of thing. Some of the elements in these songs sound like the more trippy parts of George Harrison’s “Dream Scene” from Wonderwall Music. I found myself trying to figure out how these instruments/sounds “communicated” with each other, or whether or not to take them as individual/distinct sounds that are going into the void on a plan of their own. I decided to take them in whatever way I wanted to take them, or simply follow the musicians along. With all but one song clocking in at over 10 minutes (the longest songs goes for 15 1/2), one tends to want to be locked into the world of the album until it comes to a conclusion. It’s the idea of being in a room with four musicians, and being unsure if what you hear is being played in front of you, being manipulated digitally, or you getting lost in the machine of creativity. Or is that “mechanics of creativity”?
This album marks the introduction of Cymerman’s Amplified Quartet, and I love what I hear and what they offer. If this leads to more, I look forward to more explorations like Sky Burial. If it leads to a Cymerman Quindectec, I would like to think I would be ready but I’m not so sure. If you’re sick of the familiarity of what you know and love, welcome yourself to the new and distant lands of Cymerman and his Amplified Quartet. Close your eyes and let the monsters eat on your brain for a bit.