Melding a saxophone’s extended techniques with the pulses and crackles created by an electrified instrument in real time calls for both players to have near extrasensory perception and instantaneous reactions.
Featuring Italians, soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo, who has played with tonal innovators like Vinny Golia, and sound designer Luca Collivasone, who manipulates a self-create cacophonator, Rumpus Room was recorded without multi-tracking or overdubbing in separate session over an11 month period. Somehow common ground is reached for idiosyncratic reed patterns and quirky noises produced by a sewing machine with attached chassis plus recycled springs, hardware tools, toys and other implements.
With its dual genesis in Rube Goldberg and Pierre Schaeffer, Collivasone’s cacophonator is often the focal point of Rumpus Room. This is particularly obvious in the disc’s concluding sequences. Pounding on wood and metal as springs echo characterizes “Nattmara”, for example. Yet there and elsewhere, Mimmo doggedly insists on chromatic lines to preserve the exposition with straight-ahead trills. Meanwhile Collivasone further detonates ring-modulator-like gongs and mumbled voice samples. The invention’s wacky commotion is emphasized throughout with noises resembling furniture movement, rocket-launching and rubber-band-like undulations. Yet the saxophonist’s sound strategies not only complement many of the sounds but also slip distinctive overblowing, flattement, tongue trilling and stuttering flutters among the cacophonator’s blasts. Furthermore although Collivasone’s manipulations can suggest the textures of an entire rhythm section of guitar flanges, double bass slaps and drum thumps, as it does on “As You Certainly Know”, the saxophonist’s flutters and slurs keep the track’s evolution horizontal. Resolution of the concept is on the concluding “Longing of a Dragonfly”. As bell-tolling and earth-moving groans from the cacophonator join with guitar-like string slashes, Mimmo stays focused on a quick tongued theme extension and in derision or triumph ends the tune and the CD with extended sweet glissandi.