Subtraction by Gleb Kanasevich

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Gleb Kanasevich | Subtraction
Flag Day Recordings (CD/DL)

Just out on Flag Day Recordings, from composer (and clarinetist) Gleb Kanasevich, is his latest, Subtraction. The recordings starts with a four and a half minute excerpt of the title track which follows and runs for just about forty-five minutes. What initially opens as the hum of his instrument bursts into small flares of something plugged in, though minimal and a bit bashful. Halfway in the reverb begins to separate the tone and things drift into swirling patterns that meander, scrape the edges and otherwise cavort independently.

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Once the longer piece begins we are pretty much in complete silence, and the chords are played like a linear whistle, stretched like thread, unspooled. The concept of subtraction, in general, is quite interesting to me. Ultimately, it poses the question of what might be missing from the whole picture, and/or if it is better to remove something in order to reveal something different? The piece hums along, and a sudden warm outburst of melodic air flows and fades. And the picture, though a bit mysterious and abstract, begins to emerge at a nonchalant pace.

A strange, modified jazz minus any percussion begins to permeate the corners of the empty space. Still fairly ambient, the intonation becomes a bit darker and layered, continuing to stretch with an organic flexibility.  Kanasevich’s playing is full of breadth, circulating, and darting into space in a cone-like shape, like dissipating molecules. His cadence harkens to ocean waves, or even like the run off from a steam engine.

The woodwind quickens and slows with a moody flutter, aided and abetted by the striated drone electronics that keep the atmosphere mystifying throughout. The composition transitions through a bit of a psychedelic set of dissonant harmonies as part of its crescendo,  giving the listener the slip to a certain extent. Not to say he’s left the building, just on a colorful (almost tropical) tangent. Though here he seems to be improvising with trickling residue, not unlike finding a rare plant or rock formation while hiking at great altitudes. This leads to a fair amount of surreal cacophony where the peculiar finds begin to bloom and shapeshift until the very end. It’s an adventure.

 

 

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