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***SSWAN presents their first outing Invisibility is an Unnatural Disaster a raucous jaunt of free jazz on the premiere fire music label 577 Records. The music is rooted in the Black American art form of jazz, stemming into the branches of free improvisation, noise and experimentalism while pushing to the edges of each idiom. The idiosyncratic playing of guitarist Jessica Ackerley starts off the album’s title track and jumps headfirst into a Hendrix-tinged duo with drummer Jason Nazary. Patrick Shiroishi quickly joins in to take the energy up a notch with soprano sax wailing in both mimicry and opposition to Ackerley’s phrasing. Just as the wall of sound is beginning to crack an abrupt halt shifts the energy and Luke Stewart’s crawls dialogue with the smearing spattering trumpet solo from trumpeter Chris Williams.
SSWAN is an ensemble that consistently augments sonic themes and pushes the bounds of standard quintet instrumentation while simultaneously executing a unique musical language that is elevated through a strong group chemistry. ‘Pattern Phases’ takes the listener on a tour of the various sound worlds accessible to each group member. Communication exists on the level of sound and velocity rather than pitch and harmonic information. Sensitive listening and each members ability to paint with different non-pitch vocabulary creates a perfect breathe of fresh air after the tour de force of “Invisibility is an unnatural disaster”. The record is rounded out with a synthesis of questions posed in tracks 1 & 2 on “A miracle’s worth”. A beautiful piece with cleansing drones and much earned exploration of tonality is led Ackerley’s chordal work. The muted trumpet of Williams’ blends warmly and helps to guide the listeners journey through the forest of harmony into Luke Stewarts arco bass.