By Michael J. West | Published December 2018
The music of Andy Milne & Dapp Theory always has been a balancing act between ethereal mystery and vigorous polyrhythm. As one might expect from a student of Steve Coleman, rhythms have had the upper hand. The Seasons Of Being, however, tips the balance toward mystery—by amplifying it, rather than diminishing the polyrhythm.
For one thing, Ben Monder’s distorted guitar offers Robert Fripp-like lines that cross bar lines and accents. The cellos usually are arco and highly emotive, weeping delicately over the piano on “The Guardian.” Informed by Milne’s recent bout with cancer, The Seasons Of Being is intended as healing music, perhaps determining its gentler flow. Still, there’s plenty of groove; drummer Kenny Grohowski does the funk-swinging on “Surge & Splendor” and plays a punctilious march on “The Cusp.” But bassist Christopher Tordini is no slouch, and the horn players carry considerable weight as well. Trumpeter Ralph Alessi’s clean, bright tone and virtuosity act as rhythmic agents of their own. There’s still a balance on The Seasons Of Being, it’s just been recalibrated with satisfying results.
The Seasons Of Being: Surge & Splendor; The Cusp; The Guardian; Scotopia; Satanama; Three-Way Mirror; Ancestree; Luminescence; Capturing The Castle. (51:36)
Personnel: Andy Milne, piano; Aaron Kruziki, soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, douduk; Christopher Tordini, acoustic, electric bass; Kenny Grohowski, drums; Ben Monder, guitar; Ralph Alessi, trumpet; John Moon (1, 4, 6), La Tanya Hall (1, 3, 6, 8, 9), vocals; Michael Attïas, alto, baritone saxophone; Christopher Hoffman (2, 4, 5, 6, 9), Judy Redhage (1, 3, 4), cello.