Dialectical Imagination – The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Wrath (2017)

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It’s a rare Christmas Day record release, but there’s very little Dialectical Imagination does that goes with the herd. The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Wrath is the second new album from the Rob Pumpelly/Eli Wallace duo this year, the first being the almost identically titled The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture. And like that earlier collection, Wrath is being offered on a USB drive that resembles a cassette.

But where Dialectical Imagination truly sets themselves apart is when that faux cassette is plugged into a USB port and the WAV files are played. Pianist Wallace and drummer Pumpelly have this telepathy that empowers them to flourish in this free form setting. They listen closely to each other’s moves, sometimes even anticipating the next moves together, it seems.

Not knowing what’s up just ahead can be treacherous for some, but these two thrive on it; “Autopoietica II” is a prime example of that. For much of that track, there’s a foreboding sense that the song is about to explode into an unhinged outburst. Instead, it settles into a beautifully melodic motif. “Strength and Presence,” on the other hand, does have an unhinged outburst that doesn’t stop, as Wallace goes full-on Cecil Taylor and Pumpelly’s patters move in sync with the runaway piano.

Informed by facility and guided by emotion, Dialectical Imagination continues to do things their way with The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Wrath. Order up your ‘cassette’ from Atma Nadi Records.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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