AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Lars Bröndum & Per Gärdin: Fractal Symmetry, Hum and Toot [Bandcamp]

Fractal Symmetry, Hum and Toot is a set of three long improvisations combining the organic and the synthetic, recorded live in the studio from the duo of Swedes Lars Bröndum & Per Gärdin. Although made by only two musicians, Bröndum and Gärdin’s sound contains multitudes, largely thanks to Bröndum’s array of modular synthesizers, Theremin, Buchla Music Easel, Sidrax organ, and miscellaneous electronics, over which Gärdin contributes contrasting, convoluted lines on soprano and alto saxophone.

Fractal Symmetry, the opening performance, begins with an electronic hum and saxophone harmonics before developing into a fluttering of soprano saxophone over a rhythmic synth pulse whose regularity is kept just beyond the reach of easy counting. The overall architecture of the piece, and of the duo’s collaboration generally, is of slowly shifting synthesized soundscapes overlaid with flurries of notes from the saxophone. Hum and Honk is notable for setting Gärdin’s extended technique on alto sax over a burbling synth background that evolves into an encroaching drone. The final track, Toot and Crackle, moves from an understated beginning of twittering synth into a more thickly textured yet still laconic electronic background over which the soprano saxophone conducts a rapidly voiced soliloquy, the conclusion to which is a harsh, synthetic mass of sound culminating in a scaled-down, dirge-like drone.

Daniel Barbiero