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Yells At Eels + Pinkish Black - Vanishing Light...

Ken Waxman, JazzWord


A departure for Dallas trumpeter Dennis González, who for years almost singlehandedly championed Free Music in Texas and often travelled to play in that genre with the likes of Mark Helias. Vanishing Light is an outlier to that conviction. That’s because the CD’s five tracks fall into the middle ground between measured improvised music and dilatory effects and electronics plus synthesized Rock The basis for this is that the CD is a meeting between Yells at Eels, González’s working trio with his sons, bassist Aaron González and percussionist Stefan González and the synthesizer-driven sounds of Fort Worth’s Pinkish Black – Daron Beck playing keyboards and synthesizer and Jon Teague’s drums and synthesizer.

The result is somewhat reminiscent of Miles Davis’ electric period with muted trumpet tones fluttering through a miasma of slow-moving dense textures, consisting of synthesizer washes, drum backbeats and a faint, juddering continuum that seems to be processed vocal chorus chants. Besides the clear capillary tones, which are sporadically live processed as well to create multiple brass parts, power strumming from the bassist plus singularly focused marimba clinks from Stefan González add to the soundfield. Still the near Rock-like backbeat, programmed tones that suggest guitar runs and undulating trumpet slurs, the results at points list close to “Rise”, Herb Alpert’s mid-tempo 1979 dance track. Crucially though the final tracks banish these false memories as the five create a solid wall of menacing density that relates more to musique concrete than Metal or EDM sounds. In one way in fact the penultimate “Vanishing Light in the Tunnel of Dreams” encapsulates what happens in its title. Moving from oppressive vocalized and ululating waves, the tune climaxes as percussion shuffles, spitting brass emphasis and downwards sliding double bass tones cut through the stasis in unison. The concluding “The Sorrow of Guernica” pushes away synthesized oscillations to become defiantly acoustic. Heavier and speedier processed timbres alternate with marimba bar clunks, muted trumpet puffs and a final string bass strum.

Vanishing Light may surprise followers of both these bands although it may not achieved the five’s desired synthesis. But it does produce some captivating noises along the way.