Best 2008 / Destination Out: Year in Review 2008
Instead of building one top ten list from the many disparate styles of electronic ambience, non-linear improv, experimental rock, avant jazz, droning noise and many more, we’ve asked ten frequent contributors to the Destination Out reviews section to write about one release that most excited them this year.
Empty Cage Quartet – Stratostrophic (CF 103)
Hard to believe such rich, multilayered narratives could be constructed out of the sparse two horns, bass and drums format popularized by Ornette Coleman. Trumpeter Kris Tiner has a beautifully clear swing-to-freebop sound and a gift for phrases that hang provocatively in the air. He’s got a perfect partner in Jason Mears’ lemony alto, and the spiralling, witty extremity of their counterpoint rivals the Zorn/Douglas interplay in Masada. Ivan Johnson and Paul Kikuchi have blossomed into one of the supplest rhythm sections around: rather than locking in together, they pull away from each other in order to let these ultra-elastic grooves breathe.