Tim Berne's Bloodcount


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Some musicians become increasingly concise over the years, aiming to use fewer notes, more succinct tunes. Tim Berne, however, has merely grown out of any inclination to curb -- much less apologize for -- his standard of long compositions (15 minutes is an average length, but 40 minutes isn't unheard of). What's great about these notorious burners, though, is that they don't grow tiresome. The musicians are brilliantly creative and experienced enough not to get lost in all the room provided by these large time frames. Each player has boundless creative energy, matched only by technical ability-- they never seem to tire, only to get more worked up and inspired. In the always-live recordings, Bloodcount constantly morph and shape-shift musical ideas, and keep the compositions breathing through exploitation of the whole range of dynamics: There are sections of whispery brushes and soft-touch saxophone flits (when the sounds of fingers moving on keys are as audible as the tones created); there are apexes of shooting fireballs and bellowing frenzy. As a unit, they can be intuitively tight and inseparable. Conversely, they can be like electrons zipping around the nucleus of a shared mental conception of a composition. As a result, the same compositions turn out differently each time they're played -- notice how songs like "Byram's World" and "The Opener" show up on several albums -- so even if some of the songs on Discretion are familiar, it's guaranteed to be a new listening experience.

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