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Andrew Bernstein - The Great Outdoors (Ehse)

Andrew Bernstein The Great Outdoors Ehse
18 March 2016

Having released several cassettes on Hausu Mountain and Ehse, Baltimore composer and Horse Lords saxophonist, Andrew Bernstein, releases his first multi-format full-length, an exercise in minimalist intensity.

The Great Outdoors rises and falls with three tracks that build and recede. “Black Noise,” the shortest at six minutes, opens with fluttering static that quickly morphs into a calming pulse before settling on soothing snow, while the title track shifts from mild acoustics to a constant flow of saxophonic energy recalling Steve Reich’s “Phase Patterns.” Finally, “Exhaust” slowly transforms a humming tone into outright drone that ultimately leads to a whisper. It’s all part of a larger audio/visual suite that pushes these ideas even further.

Minimalism isn’t anything new, but keeping it interesting certainly sets one apart from the herd. Andrew Bernstein is that one.