Bass clarinetist Diego Vásquez has joined with producer/composers Melissa Grey & David Morneau for what can best be described as a fun and energetic journey through an electronic forest full of windy paths and unanticipated turns. The use of vintage electronics not only brings a sense of nostalgia to these works (for this listener) but results in a unique sonic experience with the juxtaposition of the electronic sounds and the acoustic bass clarinet sound. With this album “Dr. Diego” plays with clarity and resonance and proves he can easily “get around” on the bass clarinet.
The first track, Fluorescence is a fast paced track that lives up to the very definition of the word with its emanations that are absorbed by the ear and body. Diego’s bass clarinet playing is jaunty and aptly fits into the style with its repetitions and chaotic interspersions of technical material that match the backing track at the perfect moments. As a longer track, the monotony that can sometimes result from constant repetition is avoided masterfully with interesting and varied stylistic rhythms and overall pulse. This work really takes us on a journey with several stylistic modulations that builds in excitement as we near the end, where Vásquez seizes the opportunity to “go crazy” and show the technical mastery he has on the bass clarinet.
The second track, Inflorescence, stands as a marvelous contrast to the first while still retaining the integrity of the electronic soul of this EP album. Meaning “the process of flowering”, or “the arrangement of flowers on the plant”, this work produces a steady trance-like rhythm with bass clarinet punctuations overtop an active sampling of bass clarinet repetitive gestures. Wherein the first track progresses through a series of contrasting sections, this track is a bit more homogeneous in theme and still provides the dance pulse and active background along with some unique harmonic transitions. There is almost a calmness to this track throughout, and the special touches are the use of Hammond organ samplings and the growling electronic gestures used as the bass foundation.
Overall, this EP album exudes fun with its dance works and presents a unique voice that does not disappoint. Whether the listener is of an age to recall the sounds of electronics that were popular decades and decades ago or whether they are experiencing them for the first time, there is a brilliance to how they are used to create such functional and imaginative pieces. Surely this will not be the last offering by this team and there will be much anticipation for future releases.