New Release: Sound/Unsound | Pittsburgh City Paper

New Release: Sound/Unsound




Sound/Unsound consists of drummer David Throckmorton, guitarist Josh Wulff and saxophonist Ben Opie. The trio specializes in free improvisation, although despite their respective track records, most of the music here would not be considered free jazz, i.e. wild blowing that still bears some distant link to Thelonious Monk. In fact, Opie doesn’t pick up the saxophone until about midway through 15728, and not until track eight (“Ghost Logic”) does he kick up the intensity. The rest of the time, Opie manipulates a laptop and tablet, creating synthesizer noises and disembodied voices which get alternately sped up and crumpled within the soundscape. This use of found sounds harkens back to tape-collage artists of the ’80s, when the randomness of the sampling was half the fun for listener and performer. Wulff’s clean guitar-picking adds some structure to the scene, with icy melodies hanging in the air, occasionally shifting toward a countrified twang. Throckmorton, who normally expands the possibilities of what will fit within a set tempo, keeps things loose and uses his kit to color the scenery. Occasionally, the three do break into a free frenzy (“Eventide”), but more often 15728 feels like a soundtrack to a strange dream. Things don’t always move forward, but sometimes it’s better to stay in place and enjoy the ambience. This disc coincides with the release of Concerto for Orkestra, Opie’s large-scale composition for a 14-piece ensemble, which was recorded last year at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater.

Sound/Unsound 8 p.m. Sat. June 10. Space Upstairs, 214 N. Lexington St., Point Breeze. $10. 412-225-9269