Seth Kasselman – ‘Mmediate Rolls (for clarinet)’ [Review]

sethart (2)Seth Kasselman must see something in me. Or maybe he’s never read the hapless, impressionistic blathering of this website. Whatever the case, the two long-form pieces of his ‘Mmediate Rolls (for clarinet)’ C30 stand to stifle whatever oxygen-rich air I might have transcribed to a review. First – and I know this for fact – this has nothing to do with the syncretic, endeavoring, and totally comprehensible (to me) post-rock of his California band Warm Climate. Rather, as he explains it, this pair of avant-improvisations rely on “chance operations,” which, taken out of the context of Noise, seems to mean a lot more than “doing shit that sounds good?” (the question mark is audible in that statement). But since it is one man, one “song” (done twice, natch), one stream of thoughts transduced to the reedy dribble of a clarinet, I suppose I should at least try to throw my body in front of it and say something. ‘Theme’ is important here, as it takes the phrasings as consecutive and on the same plain, demonstrating if nothing else that these two pieces share a kernel of a node from which, by deliberate chance, they quickly depart. It seems the soloist is inclined toward quotations as phrasings – I couldn’t say of what, but I’ve heard some of these patterns before. However, these quotations are not stated in the vernacular of either the original, or an offshoot of the original, as I am familiar with quotation; rather, the quotations – and to me this is the major contribution of this tape – the quotations are stated with a sort of brain damage. We get slurs and stutters, “verbal” tics, conniptions, and repetitions. The way these themes unravel, it’s not homage, but it’s not satire either. It means what it is saying. It’s queer, in the truest sense of the word. Pro-pressed in an edition of 200.

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