REVIEW: Kongrosian’s “The Exit Door Leads In”

Kongrosian photo Kongrosian13_cover_zps657f91f7.jpg When you name your group after a Philip K. Dick character who felt his body odor was lethal, even if said order didn’t exist, and yet the one thing you’re known for is being the official White House pianist, and that you can play the piano with your mind, you know there are some head games going on. Perhaps that was the point when Alberto Collodel, Davide Lorenzon, and Ivan Pilat came up with Kongrosian, and the sounds they came up with on their debut album, Bootstrap Paradox (my review of which can be read here). With their brand new album, it is the continuation of the mind moving forward, figuring out what to do, where to go, and allowing the mind to take you, the creator and individual, where it feels it needs to be.

The Exit Door Leads In (Aut) is based after the title of a short story Dick wrote and published in 1979, and the entire album was written and put together in his honor. The assembly of creation in free jazz is something I enjoy, errors and all, and along the way they bring in Nello Da Pont (drums), Tim Trevor Briscoe (alto saxophone/clarinet), Edoardo Marraffa (tenor saxophone), Nicola Guazzaloca (piano), and Piero Bittolo Bon (alto saxophone, alto clarinet, and kou xiang) to help them on their mission. The majority of the tracks on the album are on-the-spot improvisations, and it’s nice to hear what they come up with in the spirit of the theme of the album. Four of the tracks were written by Kongrosian’s Pilat, while Bittolo Bon also offers up the very nice (and clever) “Sahdeecoolow”. Even the songs that have form tend to sound as if they have no form or structure due to the freeform feel of the other material here, but then things begin to gel and the listener (or at least I) gets a sense that all of this is meant to be. With multiple listens, I’m sure The Exit Door Leads In will reveal new things not felt before, and maybe that’s how it was meant to be as well.

REVIEW: Kongrosian meets Oreste Sabadin’s “Bootstrap Paradox”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The music of Kongrosian is free jazz, or is it improvisational jazz? I think both terms will bring to mind complete freedom, which for a few may mean “lack of organization or direction”, which in their case is untrue. Bootstrap Paradox (Aut) is a collaborative effort between the trio and Oreste Sabadin, and together they make music with a small bit of foundation, but then they each have the freedom to go anywhere and everywhere with what they do. In fact, the group say they are “a trio + 1”, and the role of that +1 is open to anyone who wants to join them.

I love the concept of music that is “in the making”, or at least music that sounds like it’s being assembled as you hear it. You may hear trumpets, saxophones, and a bass clarinet play an off-key melody, while another clarinet plays around and within that melody, only for another instrument to follow, which in turns follows something else. It’s like an onion unveiling new layers, and you’re not sure whether to enjoy the onion or keep peeling. That’s the joy of such pieces as “I’m A Strange Loop”, “Fractal Structure Of Revolutions”, and “No, sir, away! A papaya war is on!”, the words have no reason for being there and perhaps the sounds are the same. They don’t belong, but do because that’s how it’s combined, to create these reckless sounds that may make you want to join in and play.

Bootstrap Paradox is an album that is far from lacking any direction, the fun is trying to compile the sounds and figure out what they’ll do next. I look forward to their next destination.