Kyle Bruckmann

Six Synaptics

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The miniMoog is a small portable monophonic synthesizer launched in the early to-mid-'70s. It played a key part in most progressive rock groups of the decade, which in turn stigmatized its use as a monodimensional soloing keyboard (granted, it has a very neat built-in portamento). On Six Synaptics, Kyle Bruckmann leaves his double-reed instruments behind to tackle the miniMoog. What he accomplishes with it is nothing short of stunning. With the help of some electronics, he turns it into an atonal, noise-based improvisational device similar in feel and range to Thomas Lehn's synths. If Bruckmann is the unknown variable in this equation, merely gliding over the two other participants must be avoided. Scott Rosenberg has been developing a personal language on saxophones and bass clarinet. Here he uses his palette of dynamics and sounds to its fullest, shifting from the throaty sound of brass breath (think Axel Dörner or Radu Malfatti) to the free jazz blows of Peter Brötzmann-esque proportions. Drummer Michael Zerang needs no introduction. His playing gets particularly ferocious on this album, as he takes pleasure in moving in and out of beats that seem to recall the miniMoog's history. The six improvisations on this disc showcase a lot of creativity and energy. In the quiet moments, it becomes difficult to differentiate between Bruckmann and Rosenberg, both chirping away on the threshold of acoustics and electronics. When things heat up (as in the closing "Moondling"), the synthesist throws in a high-pitched frequency or lets his electronic setup go mad in battle with the drummer. If Konk Pack traded the coldness of the Cologne avant-garde for the jazzier side of Chicago, it would sound like this trio. Recommended.

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