Ras Moshe Burnett & Dafna Naphtali: Fusebox (Gold Bolus, 2021)

July 15, 2021 at 6:56 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Ras Moshe Burnett & Dafna Naphtali: Fusebox

Two longtime NYC avant music scene fixtures, saxophonist/flautist Ras Moshe Burnett and vocalist Dafna Naphtali perform otherworldly improvisations that tangle human impulses with generative technology, blasting tones and voices far beyond their starting points. Recorded in a studio in 2017, the pieces on this album intertwine Burnett’s playing with Naphtali’s wordless singing, which is expanded through live sound processing. Some moments are sparse and patient, with the two seeming to hum around each other without really going anywhere, but there’s other tracks where they both really take off, and it’s nothing less than head-boggling. “Stochastic Leap” takes one, with jagged saxophone bleats transformed into dense flurries; Naphtali’s voice doesn’t appear often, but it gets transformed into a siren wail when it does. The 10-minute “Coded Futures” has some of the most alien, transmogrified sounds on the album; at one point it sounds like Lisa Gerrard being interrupted by a malfunctioning robot puking out laser beams. “Dervish” is an outer space dub fusion track, with saxophone and electronic effects spiraling around each other at warp speed. Finally, “Hamsa” holds up a distorted mirror to the musical duet partners, multiplying Dafna’s voice into a small choir while twisting Ras Moshe’s sax into a bent high-pitch whistle.

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