It’s fine to say that a musician has found his or her own language, but what does that really mean? First off, what is language, really?
In essence, it’s a symbolic communication method, one that can be transmitted by voice or in written form. So I suppose music, which is similarly conveyed by sounds that make air molecules wiggle, and which can also be represented on a page, can be characterized as a language. But it’s an esoteric one, well suited to certain purposes, but also limited both in what it says and in the many things that it cannot do. You will never use the language that Kyle Bruckmann speaks with his ensemble Wrack to order a pizza, or to explain how that tree in the backyard grew from a seed you could stick between your teeth into something 40 feet tall. Continue reading “W.A.S.T.E. at Dusted”
…Awaits Silent Tristero’s Empire is an epic four-part suite based on the fictitious songs found scattered throughout celebrated author Thomas Pynchon’s early novels V., The Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity’s Rainbow. Oboist Kyle Bruckmann conceived this post-modern “musical phantasmagoria” as the first long-form composition written for Wrack, his experimental chamber jazz ensemble, employing an expanded version of the long-standing unit to realize the project’s pan-stylistic scope.
Continue reading “W.A.S.T.E. at All About Jazz”
The unusual front line of Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack—viola, oboe, and bass clarinet—gives the quintet a narrow timbral range, but it uses wriggling, high-intensity counterpoint to create an exhilaratingly bright, multilayered sound. As Bruckmann says in the liner notes of the group’s forthcoming third album, Cracked Refraction (due from Porter Records on February 21), “I take perverse glee in using the wrong tools for the job.” The onetime Chicagoan started Wrack as a jazz-oriented project, but over time he’s come to focus more and more on jagged themes, unwieldy time signatures, and tricky pinpoint interplay (a la Anthony Braxton), all played with the postpunk energy of his old band Lozenge—on “Exacerbator,” for example, Jen Clare Paulson’s acidic viola slashes against the grain of a charging unison pattern from Bruckmann’s oboe and Jason Stein’s bass clarinet. Drummer Tim Daisy and bassist Anton Hatwich make for a whirlwind rhythm section, and when they buckle down and play hard they sometimes seem to splinter the front line with their momentum as they signal the rapid-fire shifts in Bruckmann’s knotty, episodic compositions. The intensity can be pretty relentless, which makes the occasional quiet passage—like Paulson’s lyrical, almost hushed solo on “Notwithstanding,” accompanied by light percussion and pointillistic bass—hit just as hard emotionally as the wind players’ most furious barrages. —Peter Margasak
Originally posted at Chicago Reader.
In Chicago jazz, you can come home again. Since the music thrives on change, it’s natural for bands to come and go, and for musicians to stay in one place for a while and then move on. But there’s always an open door for you to return and pick up where you left off. Consider the example of Kyle Bruckmann. The multi-instrumentalist had a good run here between 1997 and 2003 by dint of his unusual skill set (there just aren’t that many improvising oboe/English horn players around), which enabled him to appear with jazz, chamber, and rock groups, orchestras, and diverse ad hoc improvisational situations. He first formed Wrack shortly before he left Chicago for San Francisco, where he is currently based, as an outlet for his investigations into the creative friction that occurs when classical music and jazz rub together. Continue reading “W.A.S.T.E. at Chicago Music”