A protean sideman goes (literally) solo
—David R. Adler
The Brooklyn Paper
WFMU Music awash in our souls, with Doug Wieselman live.
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
—by Donald Elfman
As a vital force in the New York music scene and founding member of the Kamikaze Ground Crew, reed player Doug Wieselman has been an intrepid adventurer in the world of sound. Nowhere has that been more clear than on this new solo recording, in which his clarinets, played through a loop pedal and Fender amp, singularly and quietly present a world rich with the sensation of personal intimacy. As a stunning entry into this world, consider the opening track, simply called “Train”. It’s inspired by the distant sound of a train traveling up the valley beside the Hudson River and sounds, almost miraculously, to be moving and not moving – motion sensed through stillness. Thanks to the production and sonics – as simple as they may be – there is always a sense of a lot happening. “Kepler-22B” is a whirlwind of natural and engineered sounds, which engage us fully and yet are gone in what seems like an instant. “Tennessee Valley” finds the rich, dark emotion in a bass clarinet that Wieselman notes is from the ‘50s. And for a dazzling complement , the second side – all this music benefits from the powerful directness of the LP format – contains a version of that same waterinspired melody sung by a choir of gorgeously altered human voices. In the middle of Side Two comes one more in a whole series of sonic surprises. It’s an arrangement of John Lennon’s “Julia” and the lady in question, an “ocean child”, walks, via clarinet, in the mists of a quiet sea. From Water concludes, interestingly, with the first piece that Wieselman ever composed for soloclarinet, “Pacific 1”, beget from a beach in Baja, California and, again, suggesting the Zen-like blend of happening and stillness. That mixture informs every minute of this LP and demands time and patience.