The group, Trumpet Trumpet synthesizer, aptly named because it features Jacob Wick and Brad Henkel on trumpets and Weston Minissali on synthesizer/vocals/vocoder has a new release, a sidelong contribution to a split with Raub Roy, aka, Horaflora on his label Weird Ear Records. While everything Roy has put out, both as a performer and a label head, has been nothing short of fantastic, my focus here today is Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer’s side, titled “Oh Baby”, as Horaflora’s side won’t be available for online listening until the full release drops on September 1st.
Minissali, who is known primarily as a member of the Brooklyn based outsider art rock band Cloud Becomes Your Hand, is seemingly responsible for the concepts at play here and the composition at hand, and presents a piece that makes a great case for music that blurs the lines between meticulously composed, sonically challenging music generated by graphic processes and improvised music. “Oh Baby” has several sections that blend in a way where different sections are clearly delineated, and have their own identity within the compositional fold, yet don’t beg to be seen as progressions towards a certain somewhere in particular. The piece is extremely dynamic, ranging from a section that involves synth and trumpet echoing each other in soulful, almost guitar-like love cries to moments of quasi-microtonal sonic agreement to the point where the instruments can barely be delineated to moments of unapologetic abrasive sonic blasts. Eventually, a spare and gestural event occurs in which the synthesizer generates a low bass tone under a texture with Minissali on vocals and (seemingly) trumpet playing effected multiphonics that creates the effect of providing a subtle yet definitive ending of the track. It is difficult to tell which aspects of this music are “composed” vs. “improvised”, though I am guessing that this piece was generated by use of a graphic score (an assumption I am making based on what I know about previous releases from this band). But this question is almost completely irrelevant given that every moment of this piece clearly comes from a place of very intent listening and extremely advanced sonic congruency. Often times the trumpet sounds provide the most percussive aspects of this music and often trades roles with the synthesizer in creating the lower partials of the textures at hand. “Oh Baby” is a piece that is a testament to the fact that highly intellectual processes that are intent on realizing inherently cerebral and conceptually complex musical ideas can result in music that has no less of an emotionally relevant content to the listener than anything else, and makes me curiously anticipate Horaflora’s side of this release. It’ll have to wait until next month though. For now, stream Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer’s track, here:
Sweet cover art!