The Squid's Ear Magazine

Abhorrent Expanse (Polipnick / Fratzke / Courage / Glenn): Gateways To Resplendence (Amalgam)

Covering vast approaches to improvised and experimental music, based around scrabbly free playing, dark rock intensity, experimental and abstract tapestries of sound and unexpected transitions,the Minneapolis quartet of guitarists Luke Polipnick & Erik Fratzke, bassist Brian Courage and drummer Tim Glenn tell a consistent narrative of urgently creative exploration; gripping.

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product information:

Label: Amalgam
Catalog ID: AMA041
Squidco Product Code: 32178

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at Signaturetone Recording, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 8th, 2020, by Adam Tucker.


Luke Polipnick-vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar

Erik Fratzke-electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electric bass, organ, synth

Brian Courage-electric and acoustic basses, organ pedals

Tim Glenn-drums, percussion

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Abstract, ecstatic, and pummeling, Abhorrent Expanse's Gateways To Resplendence articulates the unspeakable dread which dwells in the sepulchral caverns of the mind. A grotesquely improvised manifesto plumbing from the depths of blackened death, funeral doom, noise, and free jazz, it defies the listener to decipher its riddles and confront its paradoxes. The ensemble builds on the deep history of collaboration between its four members to present a new way forward. Many duo and trio gigs helped them develop a new musical lexicon uniting the raw sonic intensity of extreme metal with the wide spectrum of textures common to free improvisation. By the time Erik Fratzke (Zebulon Pike, Happy Apple) and Tim Glenn (The Blight, Celestiial, Obsequiae) joined Brian Courage and Luke Polipnick in the studio, uniting the full quartet for the first time, the connection was immediate. Adam Tucker at Signaturetone Recording, a brilliant engineer and musician in his own right, used a variety of unorthodox techniques to help the band convey their vision. The resulting album is awash with contradictions, an organic, multifaceted, and deeply challenging listening experience that will push fans of both genres to their limits.

With a range of sonic components at their disposal, Gateways To Resplendence covers a staggering amount of stylistic ground, forging new and unnerving pathways all the while. "Annihilation Operators" launches into a snarled morass of distortion and blast beats, immediately followed by the angular abstraction of "Empirical Languages." "Frost Suffocation" takes inspiration from John Zorn's Naked City with the quartet veering sharply through a series of solos and duos. "Invasive Insectoid Horror Thoughts" combines multiple layers of group improvisation, each played in response to the last. The result is a palpable skittering sensation more akin to Stockhausen than Sarcofago. "Baleful Reminders" pits the guitars and rhythm section against each other with fragile chords broken up by frantic interjections. Finally, "Arcturian Nano-Diamonds From The Tranquil Abyss" wanders through a vast hellscape of doom, drone, blasts, and noise, before descending into the final scraping throes of nothingness.

All ten movements on Gateways To Resplendence were improvised live by Abhorrent Expanse on October 8th, 2020 at Signaturetone Recording in Minneapolis."-Amalgam

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Artist Biographies

"Luke Polipnick is a modern guitar virtuoso and musical polyglot who is gaining a reputation as a fearless improviser and genre-bending composer. His playing encompasses the jazz, blues, and rock and roll traditions, and incorporates elements of Americana and world music with an experimental bent. "Luke Polipnick is one the finest new generation jazz musicians on the scene today. Hip and carryng the torch of tradition, Polipnick blends americana, jazz and contemporary improvisation into a seamless whole." -Fareed Haque

-Reggie's Live (

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"Erik Fratzke is a bassist/guitarist/composer based in St. Paul, Minnesota.He has been active in the Twin Cities Creative Music scene for more than three decades.He is perhaps best known as a member of alt-jazz pioneers "Happy Apple," releasing six critically-acclaimed albums. He is also a current member of Craig Taborn's Junk Magic, The Gang Font, and The Dave King Trucking Co."

-Erik Fratzke 6/7/2023

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"Brian Courage is a bassist and composer originally from Long Island, NY. Courage moved to Minneapolis in 2012 after finishing his studies at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI. In the Twin Cities, Brian became more than a first-call sideman, joining forces with other (mostly) young artists to lead or co-lead some of the most exciting ensembles in town. In addition to his Courageous Endeavors and Mountain King (three-bass) ensembles, Brian performed with the No Coast Quintet, Dave Karr Quartet, a trio with Pat Moriarty and Ellen Lease, the Pete Whitman X-Tet, Gypsy Mania, the John Raymond Quartet and Peter Kogan Group, as well as with many area vocalists and such visiting artists as Lew Tabackin, David Hazeltine, J.D. Allen, and Walter Smith III. Since his return to New York City in fall 2014, Brian has performed at several venues around Brooklyn and Manhattan as a member of the Chris Misch-Bloxdorf Dectet. Brian most recently was in town to gather a quartet for the Jazz at Studio Z series last spring."

-Jazz Police (

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Tim Glenn is a Minneapolis durmmer, known for the bands Abhorrent Expanse, Celestiial, Fog, HeatdeatH, Our Mine, Pentacene, Poor Line Condition, Science vs. Flames, Squid Fist, The Blight.

-Discogs (

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Track Listing:

1. Cloak Of Ancients 3:30

2. Annihilation Operators 7:01

3. Empirical Languages 2:33

4. Frost Suffocation 3:07

5. Gateways To Resplendence 3:56

6. Path Of Extremal Action 3:27

7. Invasive Insectoid Horror Thoughts 2:48

8. Baleful Reminders 3:34

9. Against The Churning Void, Apparitions Of A Lost And Glorious Starscape 3:38

10. Arcturian Nano Diamonds From The Tranquil Abyss 14:37

Related Categories of Interest:

Rock and Related
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Quartet Recordings
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New in Rock Forms
New in Improvised Music
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