Pail Bug are Dietrich Eichmann (piano), John Hughes (double bass), Astrid Weins (double bass), and Jeff Arnal (percussion), a quartet of journeymen improvisers who create music of subtlety and nuance. On this their first release, the music unfolds unhurried and unworried. Each molecule of sound reacts beautifully and glacially with the others, destination unknown — a truly artful display of the most successful group improvisation. Motifs are introduced, expounded upon and discarded, as the next series of compound musical statements ushers us into new sonic territory.
Then, in the spirit of true experimentalists, the next composition upsets the previously stated intent. Suddenly we are careening through the busy streets of Berlin — dodging, weaving, cutting our swath in a landscape of total action and reaction. Although the pace has quickened, we are not being barraged. Pail Bug gracefully weaves in, out, and around each other even as the tempo rises, before arriving again at more spacial vistas. This conception of all-inclusive compositional freedom continues throughout the length of the album with nary a dull moment — no easy feat considering the music was realized as it was recorded.
Like most Generate releases, Pail Bug is lean on ornamentation. The CD sleeve itself metaphorically communicates a sense of density and negative space equally represented in the pristine, natural recording. Each instrument finds maximum resonance as the sounds follow their arc across the stereo field, giving a sense of space to the pieces and highlighting each composition's tonal fusion/fission.
This music is an excellent example of modern European free improvisation that began sometime in the mid 20th century and continues to grow into more interesting configurations. Pail Bug shows us that in their capable hands, stunning results are imminent.
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