Collectively creating an essay in forceful improvisation, the Being Five quintet is as international as its five-part program is intense. Percussionist Yorgos Dimitriadis is Greek; bassist Christopher Williams and accordionist Andrea Parkins, American; clarinetist Lori Freedman is Canadian; and trumpeter Axel Dörner, German. Adding understated but effective electronic trappings throughout, the quintet members achieve a notable balance between the spontaneous and the synthesized. Additionally, intervallic pauses distinguish the astute alternations between luminous solos and the shaded, sometimes menacing, group wave-form expositions.
As the session evolves, Dimitriadis stays in the background with an occasional drum slap or cymbal plink, affirming slippery clarinet peeps, or pressurized bass string slices that can be distinguished in the midst of intermittent crackling voltage that is also strengthened by tremolo accordion pulses. Other times, as on Amusik Bis, Freedman’s pedal point clarinet and Dörner’s portamento squeezes outline a variant of tandem lyricism. But it’s the concluding Freeze that most precisely defines the program. With only the occasional clarion reed bite cutting through the machine-generated buzz and hiss at first, continuous voltage drones become louder, more concentrated, strident and synthesized, so that by the penultimate sequenced sound concatenation seems almost impenetrable. That is until chalumeau clarinet purrs and inflating accordion pumps reassert the session’s acoustic side before a collective finale.
An exemplary interpretation of electro/acoustic improvising, Being Five also demonstrates that musicians’ geographic origins mean little when creating a vivid group project.