Kyle Motl is a bass player who sent us Transmogrification (METATROPE-003) from his San Diego address. While he has surfaced in a jazz context – he’s a member of the Peter Kuhn Trio, for instance – he’s also an improviser and composer, and this record does project an experimental and serious vibe. 15 short solo contrabass improvisations were recorded live to tape in two sessions; it’s all about simply exploring the sound of the bass. When not playing with others, he feels free to do this. He likes the extremes of “technique, timbre, and dynamic envelope” that he can explore when playing solo. He’s also good with mic placement and stereo panning when the situation calls for it, on particular tracks where he wishes to convey a “heightened sense of space”. Musically, he aims to encompass everything from jazz idioms, 20th-century avant-garde composition, and noise. Quite a dry, challenging listen on the surface; not much variety on offer, sonics-wise; but his technique is strong and varied, and you can sense him straining hard to create some of these subtle, but intricate, effects on the bass. At times we are almost mesmerised by low-key pulsations, like an acoustic player attempting to play a Mille Plateaux track. Elsewhere it’s like a lightning pencil-sketch of some furniture falling down a wooden staircase. Track titles may seem a little precious (‘Phosphene Alpha’? ‘Scintillionic’?) but they are in keeping with the highly abstract nature of the music. From 22 May 2017, available from his Bandcamp page.