AMN Reviews: Kyle Motl / Patrick Shiroishi / T.J. Borden – in this failing light (2020; Confront Recordings)

In this offering, a set of improvisations from bassist Motl, saxophonist Shiroishi, and cellist Borden, the trio imposes a loose structure over their otherwise free-formed explorations. But even more notable is how they manage to merge their sounds and styles to a complementary amalgam. As a result, in this failing light goes beyond the push-and-pull of modern improv, and also covers cooperative territory. In particular, Borden uses extended techniques in upper registers that are picked up upon and accentuated by Shiroishi. Even Motl drags his bass into this range to produce a sum-of-the-parts that is surprisingly hypnotic despite its jagged edges.

Motl, of course, is a monstrous bassist with a non-stop and shifting approach. He meshes well with Borden, as both are classically-adept with squarely modernist leanings. Shiroishi represents emotion, as his lines are plaintive and wailing, bursty and textural. Even when this trio is in a quiet passage, there is a distinctive motion to their playing that manages to be both dense and gritty.

in this failing light is an album that expands with multiple listens. I’ve had the pleasure of digging into it over the last couple of weeks and each session brings forth even more depth and detail. Very highly recommended.