Aug 14 2018
The latest work from Bobby Previte presents itself as a collage of imagery, of a dream comprised of many smaller dreams all vaguely detached from one another. But that’s the view from the ground, experiencing the music in the moment. From above, taking everything in its entirety, there is an undeniable sense of the interconnectedness of everything, of Rhapsody as a universal machine decoded into sonic form. The pulsing melodicism of Fabian Rucker’s saxophone melts into Jen Shyu’s booming vocals which are, in turn, enveloped by Zeena Parkins’ harp, like sunlight blanketed the soft ripples of a wave as it swallows a bit more of the shoreline at high tide. And this, too, is captured in the embrace of Previte’s drums, Nels Cline’s guitars and John Medeski’s piano accompaniment. The cycle repeats itself when Rucker’s sax emerges from the center and becomes the gravitational force that sets everything in orbit.
Rhapsody is a running narrative, a song cycle about traveling and the traveler, and where Previte wants the focus to be not on destinations and points of departure, but instead on the state of existence in between. The music’s floating imagery falls right in line with that inspiration, representing the fleeting yet visceral sensation from attempting to nail down a perspective in a state of perpetual motion and change.
This is a stunning work, and it’s one of the very best things I’ve heard all year.
Your album personnel: Bobby Previte (trap drums, percussion, autoharp, guitar, harmonica), Nels Cline (acoustic guitar, slide guitar, twelve string guitar), John Medeski (piano), Zeena Parkins (harp), Jen Shyu (voice, erhu, piano) and Fabian Rucker (alto saxophone).
Released on RareNoise Records.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Music from NYC.