Nommonsemble Life Cycle

Drummer Whit Dickey, following an extended period of woodshedding, is looking inward. In David S. Ware's band, Dickey complemented Matthew Shipp perfectly as someone who could deconstruct a simple theme or rhythm to maddening, intense extremes. Dickey's other great strength is his subtle phrasing and fine control over the volume of his kit. The Nommonsemble is optimised to take advantage of Dickey's controlled but wide-ranging approach. Life Cycle reunites Shipp with Dickey to the same great effect. Rather than acting as counterbalances to the fiery Ware, they bookend a duo as equally serpentine as themselves: cellist Mat Maneri and Rob Brown, on alto sax and flute. The absence of a bassist gives more space to the songs and allows Shipp's left hand and Dickey's floor toms to supply the bass content. The cello and alto sax are in a similar range; they both squeal aggressively and, especially with Maneri's cello, reach lower textures. Dickey lets these songs draw out slowly. This is music with a restless, portentous quality, even when it is quiet, and the furious moments aren't memorable for their raw fury but for the frenzied tension of the players. Kind of like a Hitchcock movie: it's a slow boil that is compelling to witness. (Aum Fidelity)