The Catbird Shrilled

Trumpeter Joe Moffett is a member of Earth Tongues with Dan Peck and Carlos Costa, a trio whose heavy albums of crushing acoustic improv noise are always welcome here. Moffet’s now released a solo cassette on Dan Peck’s Tubapede label called More Of It And Closer (TUBAPEDE RECORDS #11). One man, a trumpet, some amplification, some “applications”. In contrast to the roaring blasts of Earth Tongues, this set is quiet and restrained, and Joe exercises some very extreme techniques as he emits abstracted parps and breathy tones into a largely silent arena, a blank canvas decorated by inspired gestures of deep blue paint. Some of the tunes begin life as just simple extended drones, before they take off down unexpected byways. Might be instructive to compare this record with the earlier experiments of Axel Dörner from the Berlin “school” of reduced playing; Dörner was somewhat more process-heavy and seemed to be insisting on the material fact of his own breath passing through a brass instrument above all else. Moffett is more concerned with expressiveness; and even though this music is incredibly abstract, you could still just about connect the emotional tones of his trumpet with the best of American jazz players, from Miles Davis to Clifford Thornton. Moffett’s work is inspired by “audio field guides, free jazz, as well as modern works of sound art”, according to the press note. Arrived 8th November 2018.

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