At a certain point in Tyshawn Sorey’s arresting composition for one of his mentors, the inimitable George Lewis, a shift happens. Across 53 minutes, Sorey creates motionless forward momentum. Notes are stretched near the breaking point and then stretched further. Discordant harmonies broaden the view, pushing the focus across through a needlepoint as the stellar Alarm Will Sound press on under Sorey’s guidance.
The movement is almost undetectable, the massive scope and density of Sorey’s piece create a kind of sonic friction, where the ensemble creates massive aural plates that grind together like land masses, flitting between imperceptible steps forward and ground shaking resonance that sets glaciers adrift. As if “For George Lewis” was a dream, by the time it crawls to its final resting place, trumpet flares calling a somber fanfare, the place we started is a distant memory, lost to the horizon.
Chaotic side streets become a dizzying map of adventurous cacophony on both installments of “Autoschediasms.” Invigorating stretches of lightspeed piano runs and stirring strings. Horns and woodwinds give chase, blasting restrained circles that spiral upward in dramatic fashion. Restraint plays a central role, the ongoing action simmering internally while the outside world catches fire. Sorey holds the reins taut, only opening up when the right moment arrives.
The biggest surprise in these intricate performances (one of which, it must be noted, was done via video chat with Sorey conducting – with a nod to Butch Morris’s conductions and Braxton’s language music. Watch this video because it’s incredible) is the emotional weight woven throughout. Each passage grows like fresh vegetation from the tiniest of cracks, life where it seems impossible, words and feelings flailing and looking for any kind of foothold, any kind of answers. Tyshawn Sorey beautifully guides this sonic river as it overflows its banks. For George Lewis | Autoschediasms is a monumental work. It’s unforgettable.
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