The first vibraphone notes tinkle like wind chimes in the lightest summer breeze, while a shaker mimics an insect. Soon enough other sounds – breath through a trumpet, swelling cymbals, electronics, a chattering snare – darken the mood. A groove emerges that only amplifies the sense of portentousness, because with the Polymorphic Orkestra a groove is just a pathway deeper into a mood or a soundscape.
And once inside those worlds one encounters impossibly lonely, desolate solos from Lee McIver’s trumpet or flugelhorn; solos that may give way Ed Goyer’s vibes still sounding as though the melodies emerge from by some act of nature rather than via a human. Meanwhile Ed Rodriguez, like the other two, often uses silence as a default, and so when the drums do enter they are often barely engraving that silence. The first improvisation, Stream, lasts for 41 minutes, alternating between a tranquil stasis and a momentum that, while it partially rides on rhythm, is more about evolving moods and textures than shifting harmonies. The collective instinct for balancing density and space is uncanny, as is shown again in the second piece, Flow.