Dirk Bruinsma is a veteran of the European improviser scene. He played in
Sumbur, that released Sumbur (Organic, 1993),
Otholithen, that released Otholithen (Amf Rec, 1995) and S.O.D. (Cuneiform, 1997),
Positive Nuns, that released The Bible II (Pantheistic, 1998).
Blast, formed in 1989 by Dutch guitarist Frank Crijns and saxophonist Dirk Bruinsma, with a line-up that included up to ten elements, released
Purist Sirup (Vonk, 1992),
that took as inspiration the orchestral Frank Zappa of Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970) or the later Orchestral Favourites (1979).
Wire-Stitched Ears (Cuneiform, 1995) is a little more dissonant and a
little more improvised than Zappa's works. The drawback is that it lacks
Zappa's sense of humour, that helped digest even the most abstruse scores.
Stringy Rugs (Cuneiform, 1997) is tighter, jazzier and closer to
British progressive-rock (the Henry Cow school), thanks to time signatures and
The austere compositional style that was maturing on the second album blooms on
A Sophisticated Face (Cuneiform, 1999), especially in
multi-part suites like Visceral Ooze (worthy of the
chamber music of the avantgarde),
Metrolodic (with echoes of Anthony Braxton's saxophone improvisations
and a duet between pompous horns and frantic percussions),
Transversal (Henry Cow-style metamorphoses but with more cacophony) and
Emety Neprac (a surreal scherzo that slides into a languid adagio
in an unusually cinematic manner).
Melodies have all but disappeared. Blast's kaleidoscopic sound is targeting an
abstract nirvana of musical gestures.
Renaming themselves Blast 4tet, they recorded
Altrastrata (ReR, 2003) and the fully improvised
As Nowhere As Anywhere (FMR, 2007).
Sift (ReR, 2008) was recorded by a Dutch-Italian quartet and was basically structured around three lengthy suites.
Sift exhibited the hiccupping and jagged structure of post-rock scores.
Fluke sounds more organic, thanks to a syncopatic exotic-tinged rhythm
and to a minimalist-repetitive section that is coordinated by
a metronome-like guitar.
Pole is another harsh statement of counter-counterpoint, neurotic
repetition and anticlimatic pauses.
A lot of tension and drama is exuded by this line-up of Blast.
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