Tucker Martine Orchestra Dim Bridges (with Eyvind Kang)

[Conduit; 2004]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: experimental/improvisational, avant-jazz, abstract electronic
Others: Bill Frisell, Sigur Ros, Marc Ribot

Orchestra Dim Bridges, the recent collaborative effort from Eyvind Kang and Tucker Martine, is an unspeakably difficult record to classify. Part laptop tweakery, part abstract jazz, and part experimental improv, Orchestra Dim Bridges betrays the influences of Kang's and Martine's cohorts: both are part of Wayne Horvitz' 4+1 Ensemble, and one or the other have worked with Arto Lindsay, Secret Chiefs 3, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Beck, Ikue Mori, John Zorn, et al., and have released previous work on Zorn's Tzadik label. Kang is a composer and violinist by trade, and Martine is a drummer and producer. Together their joint recording is a work that is rich in melody and diverse in instrumentation and style.

The thread that seems to hermetically hold this album together is the mood of quiet reverence and melancholy inherent in every track. Kang's violin playing conveys a sense of longing and sadness, and Martine's production, rather than being oppressive and claustrophobic (as is the case with much current electronic music), is spare and subtle, leaving room for the instruments to be aurally isolated and heard individually. Ambient touches, such as quiet vinyl static and electronic hums, add additional warmth to the album, which at times is actually musically quite dark and minor in key. Individually, the tracks vary from Eastern-tinged laments to free jazz experimentation and even dark ambient, each employing musical virtuosity throughout. Orchestra Dim Bridges is a beautiful album, featuring the musicianship you'd come to expect from Tzadik alumni, coupled with an immaculate sense of composition and space.

Upon listening to Orchestra Dim Bridges, something that becomes immediately clear is that the album is as much about obsession with precision as it is about composition. It's a densely constructed record that does not sound forced or pretentious, as it might easily have been rendered. Instead, the album's crystalline precision and filigreed production and melody make Orchestra Dim Bridges an accomplishment that shimmers with a life of its own. Kang and Martine have created a record could be a soundtrack to any day of your life, and hopefully it won't be their last.

1. Horizon
2. Elegy Elegie
3. Dim Bridges
4. Daughters of the Sun
5. The Echoing Green
6. Baseer Ornamental
7. Madrona
8. Bright Shadows Occulted
9. Braille Oscuro
10. Version Like Rain
11. Genetic

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