"Subversive," cantankerous," pugilistic" are words that have been used to describe Matthew Shipp but in reality he is proudly paradoxical, confounding the listener with exhilarating leaps from traditional to parts unknown. Striking a singular path at once ultra modern yet embedded in deep historic musical roots, Shipp's presentation is both organic and science fiction. He wears his genius well.
Coming off the live release Art of the Improviser, which has been noted as a hallmark release in an already highly decorated career, Shipp has just stepped into his second decade with this double album.
His new album, Elastic Aspects was developed as a suite for trio, highlighting the telepathic interplay of bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey. It is given to vast complexities, spiked with moments of shear beauty against lightening transitions to polyphonic figures wrapped in a sonic voice that is both metaphysical and arresting.
The album arcs from opening cuts, Alternative Aspects" and Aspects" that are inquisitive and suggestive. Psychic Counterpart" with a simple figure and a nod to swing belies its complexities and is complemented with Bisio's pulsing walking bass and Dickey's probing drums. And the journey continues and builds to a thunderous exclamation point with Elastic Eye." Elastic Aspects" shapes and contorts with surprisingly new colors.
Whether it is a swing motif played inside the piano or his trademark cluster chords or a light as a feather touch barely kissing the keys, Shipp's range is effortlessly encyclopedic; probing the many energies of life, asking many questions and only teasing at answers.
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