Mark Dresser - Tines of Change

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Anyone familiar with the work of bassist Mark Dresser knows that he is an uncompromising innovator, always dedicated to pushing his music into new territory; and if that requires novel technical modifications to his instrument itself, then so be it. He has partnered with fellow bassist Kent McLagan as far back as 2001 to create adapted basses using additional pickups, which allow Dresser to create multiple pitches for each string of his bass. On his most recent solo project, Tines of Change, McLagan has augmented Dresser's bass with metal tines which allow for even more creative options. Although Dresser did introduce the McLagan tines during brief interludes on his outstanding septet release, Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup and You (Clean Feed, 2019), that tantalizing preview was just a hint of the possibilities they provide, making his latest effort both intriguing and ground-breaking.

Each of the album's twelve tracks carries Dresser's distinctive nomenclature, befitting the music's unique character. "Prolotine," the opener, embodies the dialogic aspect of the album, as Dresser combines bowed passages with percussive pizzicato to create something which has both palpable momentum and subtle charm, with the harmonic potential of his modified instrument developed fully. "Tynalogue" has an even livelier bent, with the tines taking on qualities reminiscent of an African mbira, as Dresser's rhythmic proclivities take over. As one might expect from the title, "Harmonity" has a rich palette of sounds at its disposal, with rapidly-plucked upper-register notes scurrying atop Dresser's deeper rumblings to create something akin to a spirited bass duo.

Dresser's playing is so impressive that it is sometimes difficult to move past mere technical appreciation for what he achieves here; but, once that happens, it becomes evident that the expansive compositional vision which has always animated his music is just as present. The sonorous, arresting beauty of "Melodine" reaches beyond its prodigious technique to captivate, as does "Augmentine," in which Dresser creates a striking pizzicato dialogue with melodic and rhythmic energy, before going into the lower register with some fiercely resonant bowing. The surging intensity of "Nakatanitine" conceals its aggression beneath its clever harmonic choices.

Also worth noting are the album's superior sonics, courtesy of producer Alexandria Smith, who was able to capture so many of the nuanced micro-tones that are essential to appreciating Dresser's pieces. A good pair of headphones is a real asset for enjoying the album's many subtleties. "Chordone" makes particularly good use of the overtones of the instrument, in which the notes' long decay is central to the track's allurements.



SKU 020286242130
Barcode # 020286242130
Brand Pyroclastic Records

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