Mid-paced rather than hectic, Idea of West dwells and takes pleasure in forms rather than inaugurate them, using its orthodox subtleties, refinements of technique and conventional musical concerns to steadily disperse its resonances on different planes. Through its focused pace and structuring, not to mention its subtle inputs and considered yet flexible angles of attack, the familiar sounds found herein manage to re-discover a certain freshness over the course of the albums some six compositions.
The groups extended techniques often have an almost obsessive, restricted focus, but they locate polyphonic material in some unlikely places. During "Before There Was Mass", Tony Dryer's breathy sounds, laid over Jacob Lindsay's light and shifting clarinet and the abstract meter of Jacob Heule's on percussion, seem closer to flute than contrabass. With "Meant And Memory", too, Lindsay's command of multiphonics, lip fluttering and other extended techniques is impressive, but never simply virtuosic; his rich, warm tones combine with Heule's long sweeps of cymbal tones to create a spacious atmosphere and a memorable musical experience.
In general, the album is as sparing of its means as possible given the density of music it eventually delivers. Harmonics, rather than being solid, are microtonal on tracks such as "There Is An Opposition Together" and "Light From Another Light", shivering through the mix like distant aftershocks. Similarly, tiny sounds and almost subliminal textures, though all one can hear at first, eventually start to swell and grow astringent in a kind of ponderous playfulness. If never especially powerful, with due patience, there is ample room to consider its estimable intelligence and considerable harmonic subtlety.
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