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Jorrit Djikstra - 30 Micro Stems

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Artist: Jorrit Djikstra

Album: 30 Micro Stems

Label: Trytone/BVHaast

Review date: Apr. 23, 2002

Joritt Dijkstra begins 30 Micro Stems with an alto saxophone solo filled with blues-scale fragments and dotted with unpredictable, dissonant jumps. He plays with a hard, metallic tone and an idiosyncratic sense of phrasing. Then another saxophonist enters, and another, and another, forming a choir of Braxtonites singing in an angular, dense canon. It's impressively arranged and played-- particularly considering that, without overdubs, Dijkstra created all the saxophone sounds, using saxophone and electronic processing.

It pains me to even mention the way 30 Micro Stems was made, because it's much more than just a document of a musician's circus-monkey performance abilities. Dijkstra's approach to composition is consistently varied and often stunning. He possesses a genuine understanding of minimalist phasing techniques, which he uses to craft unsettling passages that sound as if their component parts can't agree on a meter. Dijkstra is also familiar with the extended technique of his instrument, which he employs only in the service of his compositional goals and never as an end in itself. And, most importantly, his saxophone and electronics clearly belong together, because most of the electronics are simply manipulations of his saxophone playing. This is a throughly listenable, well-conceived record regardless of the process behind it.

Still, it's tough to think about this CD without being amazed by the process. The liner notes say 30 Micro Stems was recorded using "all live improvisation and electronic processing (no overdubs)," meaning that Dijkstra completed each of these tracks in just one take. Given the complexity of some of these compositions, performing them on the fly is like doing multivariable calculus while competing in the Daytona 500. 30 Micro Stems is a thrilling new work by an exciting young talent.

By Charlie Wilmoth

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