Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dave Douglas: Spark Of Being - Exapnd

Dave Douglas & Keystone
Spark Of Being: Expand (Greenleaf)

Dave Douglas (trumpet)
Marcus Strickland (tenor sax)
Adam Benjamin (fender rhodes)
Brad Jones (bass)
Gene Lake (drums)
DJ Olive (turntables, electronics)

The is the second part of the Spark Of Being Trilogy based on a re-imagination of the Frankenstein novel by film marker Bill Morrison. The accompanying music done by Douglas and his always adventurous and raucous Keystone ensemble.

Spark Of Being: Expand begins just as its predecessor did with a slow opening movement only to be enveloped by the crushing chords of the "Creature" and its swirling loops provided by DJ Olive. This along with the accumulating sounds of Marcus Strickland (sax) and Gene Lake (drums) and to the dark foreboding atmosphere of this outing. The track listings may be similar but the music does vary from its counterpart release.

Where the first installment, Spark Of Being: Soundtrack focused on the atmospherics of the film, Expand does exactly what it says--expand on the themes. The performances seem to have a little more breathing room especially on tracks like "Chroma" and "Travelogue" where Douglas and Strickland tend to take the lead more than DJ Olive and Adam Benjamin did on the Soundtrack. Strickland even turns up the funky groove quotient a bit on "Chroma".

The closing number "Prologue" remains a mid-tempo piece across both releases but on Expand it is definitely more a dark blues movement than previous. With the strength of Douglas, Lake and Strickland making it lovely outro for this second movement of the film.

As you would expect, Spark Of Being: Expand stands alone but it also gives the listens a different picture of the film in their imagination as well a jazzier soundscape to explore. The third and final instalment will be released later this month with film and score performances held surrounding the release. Spark Of Being is a concept record but probably only one that Dave Douglas & Keystone could pull off without sound trite and over conceived. This is an artist making a big leap with really big ideas and vision. Great stuff.

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