Creeping Normalcy

Kronomorfic / David Borgo & Paul Pellegrin
USA OA2 RECORDS 22112 CD (2014)

The uberbrain-child of Univ. of San Diego music professor David Borgo and composer/drummist Paul Pellegrin… is, with its use of interlocking rhythms and multi-layering techniques (ahem) dedicated to “the exploration of polymetric time.” Heavy pieces indeed and this concept also walks arm in arm with such subject matter as (deep breath…) hybrid polymeters, “hocketing” (??), prismatic claves, montuno sections, “the boiling frog story” and “a non-heirarchical multiplicity that resists dualistic modes of thought…” And relax. The unusual thing is that this ten-course meal for the mind isn’t extracted from an accompanying promo sheet as you might expect, but instead comes from the digipacked inner sleeve for all the world to see. This declaration of intent/battleplan also gives prior warning of numerous tricksy time signatures and suggests the hypercomplexity on Entangled has been ratcheted up even more when compared to its predecessor Micro Temporal Infundibula (!) Ulp. Make that ulp point ulp recurring…

This seven-piece which occasionally expands into a twelve-tet (with contrabassist Mark Dresser as hired hand) addresses upper echelon electric jazz and contempo classical forms; much like Tortoise/Isotope 217 tracing the blueprints of Zappa’s Orchestral Favorites. But even with a gleaming production c/o PfMentum label boss/avant trumpeter Jeff Kaiser, Paul Garrison’s weird ‘n’ wobbly guitar fx and cool vibes from Anthony Smith on “Cellar Door” and “Lumpen Momentum”, there’s a certain sterile aroma and one-upmanship mentality coming off the disc that can unfortunately lodge in the nasal passages after a couple of laserings. Imagine Stephen Potter’s ‘Lifemanship’ classes (see School for Scoundrels), where your grade one piano fumblings are given short shrift by arch-cad Terry-Thomas’s finger mangling display on the Bechstein. That trademark “hard cheese!” putdown of his cutting you to the very quick. That’s the situation – minus the humour and the tweeds of course.

So…unless they re-jig (or “ratchet down”?) their m.o. for that difficult third album, I can see the next release becoming so overloaded with musical info as to render the c.d. as a completely unstable medium, liable to implode at any moment.