The Squid's Ear Magazine

Bruckmann, Kyle: Triptych (Tautological) (Carrier Records)

Performing on oboe, English horn and live electronics, West Coast double-reedist Kyle Bruckmann presents three extended solo works of deep electroacoustic binding, each dedicated to a writer, artist or musician: "A Spurious Autobiography for John Barth (2015)"; "An Extruded Introversion for Blixa Bargeld (2016)"; and "A Fuzzy Monolith for James Turrell (2015)".

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product information:

UPC: 759952113794

Label: Carrier Records
Catalog ID: 050
Squidco Product Code: 29238

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded by William Coulter in the University of California Santa Cruz Recital Hall, with assistance from Scott Makson in the Electronic Music Studio. Mixed and mastered by Myles Boisen, Guerrilla Audio and Headless Buddha Mastering Labs, Oakland.


Kyle Bruckmann-oboe, English horn, electronics

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"These three compositions balance an immersive, patiently evolving soundworld with a harrowing poise and restraint. The aesthetic responds obliquely to the Wandelweiser Collective while evoking the longer shadow of the New York School's Feldman, Cage and Tudor. With vintage Cold War electronics (featuring UCSC's EMU analog synthesizer) deployed in ever-shifting mobile forms, the scores are designed to produce a consistent, replicable overall affect that varies significantly in its particulars from performance to performance.

Bruckmann has often explored the time-honored artistic practice of ekphrasis - most notably with Wrack in 2014's ...Awaits Silent Tristero's Empire, a rollicking "musical phantasmagoria" in which he transcoded fictional song lyrics from Thomas Pynchon's first three novels. On Triptych (tautological), the compositions are dedicated to three artists whose works in three media deeply impacted the development of his aesthetics and identity: postmodern American author John Barth, singer and guitarist Blixa Bargeld (of the seminal German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten), and visual artist James Turrell.

Themes he pinpoints as particularly salient in these artists' work interact and resonate across the album. Authorship is blurred and narrative reliability questioned via droll, darkly humorous self-critique and arch, recursive structures. Performative extremity manifests in the endurance required to play a notoriously finicky wind instrument for so long, and often so quietly. The interaction of the lone performer with the multi-channel electronic diffusion (particularly in live concert settings) emphasizes spatial dislocation and perceptual sleight of hand.

Bruckmann has performed these pieces in numerous festival and recital contexts, with presenters including Non-Event (Boston), ESS Option Series (Chicago), Music of the Americas Concert Series (Albuquerque), Mills College Center for Contemporary Music (Oakland), Red Room/High Zero Foundation (Baltimore), CCRMA (Stanford), Festival of New American Music (Sacramento), and the conference of the International Society for Improvised Music (Château d'Oex, Switzerland).

By releasing recordings of them now in album format, he dreams that their introspection and melancholy can provide some form of solace for those of us sheltered in place - presented, perhaps for the first time in quite a while, with the space to actually sit still and listen.

Kyle Bruckmann

Since the mid-1990s, Bruckmann has remained doggedly active in multiple overlapping sub-scenes of the New Music underground; his flagship projects have included punk-inflected free jazz (Wrack, Degradient), lowercase/electroacoustic improvisation (EKG, addleds, collaborations with Olivia Block), and the unlikely intersection of prog rock and neo-no wave (Lozenge, Pink Mountain). Thanks to his uncommon distinction as an improvising oboist, he has performed and/or recorded with Creative Music progenitors Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton and George Lewis, and worked extensively as a sideman for bandleaders such as Lisa Mezzacappa, Aaron Novik, Andrew Raffo Dewar and Myra Melford. He also earns his keep as an educator (University of the Pacific; UC Santa Cruz, Davis and Berkeley) and a freelancer in orchestral and chamber music settings. Over the past several years, the balance of this work has shifted to a rising profile in contemporary classical music (Splinter Reeds, sfSound, SFCMP), championing compositions by the likes of Sky Macklay, Eric Wubbels, Linda Bouchard, Amadeus Regucera, Paula Matthusen, Maija Hynnnen, Chris Brown, and Du Yun.

The most recent album under his name, Dear Everyone (2017, with Degradient), synthesizes all of these wildly varied strains into a gleefully eccentric maximalism. With Triptych (tautological), he turns his focus inward and expands his scope outward.

About Carrier Records

Since its founding in 2009, Carrier has released 50 albums of new music. Our catalog includes some of the leading composers working in American today, including Eric Wubbels, Paula Matthusen, Katherine Young, and Cenk Ergun. The ensembles on our label range from Ensemble Pamplemousse to So Percussion to International Contemporary Ensemble.

The recordings on Carrier have wide variety of styles and aesthetics. One thing in common between everyone involved is a devotion to new music above and beyond the status quo. These are the some of the most ambitious composers of their generation being recorded by the finest performers. These are ensembles whose only goal is the play outstanding new music at its highest level. The goal of Carrier Records is to record and release these performances, making them available for the wider public."

Artist Biographies

"Composer/performer Kyle Bruckmann's work extends from a Western classical foundation into genre-bending gray areas encompassing free jazz, electronic music and post-punk rock. A busy and varied performance schedule and appearances on more than 60 recordings have led to his recognition as "an excellent composer, striking the right balance between form and freedom" (Signal to Noise), "a modern day renaissance musician" (Dusted) and "a seasoned improviser with impressive extended technique and peculiar artistic flair" (All Music Guide).

Shortly after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003, he joined forces with acclaimed new music collective sfSound and with Quinteto Latino (a woodwind quintet specializing in Latin American composers). He is now also a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Eco Ensemble, and Splinter Reeds. He has worked with the San Francisco Symphony and most of the area's regional orchestras remaining active in an international community of improvisers and sound artists. Current local improvising working groups include Addleds, Shudder, and mchtnchts.

From 1996 until his westward relocation, he was a fixture in Chicago's experimental music underground, with frequent collaborators Jason Ajemian, Jim Baker, Jeb Bishop, Olivia Block, Guillermo Gregorio, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Robbie Hunsinger, Bob Marsh, Weasel Walter, and Michael Zerang. Long-term affiliations include the electro-acoustic duo EKG, the "rock" monstrosity Lozenge, and the Creative Music quintet Wrack (recipient of a 2012 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works award).

Bruckmann earned undergraduate degrees in music and psychology at Rice University in Houston, studying oboe with Robert Atherholt, serving as music director of campus radio station KTRU, and achieving academic distinction as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He completed his Masters degree in 1996 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he studied oboe performance with Harry Sargous and contemporary improvisation with Ed Sarath."

-Kyle Bruckmann Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. For John Barth (electronics) 12:09

2. For Blixa Bargeld 21:20

3. For John Barth (oboe) 10:08

4. For James Turrell 21:11

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Electronic Forms
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Experimental & Electronic Music

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The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

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