Andrew Bernstein - a presentation Music Album Reviews

Andrew Bernstein - a presentation Music Album Reviews
The Horse Lords saxophonist uses overdubbing to recast his instrument as a virtual organ. The quest of its making is as much part of the appeal as the music itself.

If you have any preconception of what a saxophone is supposed to do in experimental music, leave it at the door before entering Andrew Bernstein’s a presentation. The sax wasn’t even designed to do the things Bernstein makes it do; as a monophonic instrument subject to the finite resource of the player’s breath, it’s inherently averse to polyphonic, longform drone pieces like the three that comprise a presentation. But by overdubbing layers of saxophone into dense chords, Bernstein has recast his instrument as a sort of reed organ. Instead of the Coltrane-Sanders-Ayler continuum Bernstein tapped on 2018’s An Exploded View of Time and in his work with Baltimore’s Horse Lords, you might instead think of the pipe-organ music of Sarah Davachi and Kali Malone, or Phill Niblock’s Four Full Flutes, or Pauline Oliveros’ Accordion & Voice, or maybe Homer Simpson passing out on the horn of his car on the way to Duff Gardens.

a presentation sounds like a lot of things other than a solo saxophone album, and yet it never seems to make a big deal out of the fact that it’s entirely made on saxophone. Aside from the breath control required to sustain the notes, this slow, simple music isn’t particularly conducive to virtuosity, and he’s not trying to coax any sounds from the instrument that no one has ever thought to coax before. The album hinges on a simple, rather brilliant idea: Why not use this instrument to make this music? There’s no reason it couldn’t have been performed on a polyphonic instrument, and that’s kind of the point. The irrational quest of its making is as much part of the appeal as the music itself.

It also suits the stubbornness, obstinacy, and immovability of these three pieces: the nearly half-hour “in flux” and two shorter tracks that set Bernstein’s saxophone against electronic drone tones. If you get a twinge of awe looking at the Pyramids of Giza or the Three Gorges Dam or the Merchandise Mart, you’ll find something to like in this music. This is blank, featureless stuff, devoid of rhythm, melody, or texture beyond the light grit in Bernstein’s tone or occasional phasing between two layers of vibrato. The brain starts thinking architecturally, and the individual layers of saxophone start to resemble logs in a cabin or posts in a fence. a presentation fires the brain up for the same reason an isolation tank does: In the absence of anything to latch onto, it starts to fill in the blanks.

Even if it’s up your alley, this isn’t the kind of thing you’ll want to listen to every day. It’s trebly, austere, and dissonant, thanks to Bernstein’s use of just intonation rather than the equal temperament most common in Western music. But as a testament to the human capacity for ingenuity, it’s kind of awesome. Reviewing 2001: A Space Odyssey and discussing the scene in which the proto-humans discover the monolith, Roger Ebert speculated that “the smooth artificial surfaces and right angles of the monolith, which was obviously made by intelligent beings, triggered the realization in an ape brain that intelligence could be used to shape the objects of the world.” Eons of evolution later, such a vast and finely wrought object as a presentation can still induce the same awe.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Andrew Bernstein - a presentation Music Album Reviews Andrew Bernstein - a presentation Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on June 08, 2022 Rating: 5


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