Exposé Online banner

Larry Polansky — FreeHorn
(Cold Blue CB0049, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-09-24

FreeHorn Cover art

I’ve played this a couple dozen times or more, and every time it has hit me differently, sometimes gentle, sometimes overtly avant-garde, sometimes quite ambient and relaxing overall (in fact variations of the latter are probably my most typical response), but other feelings are hidden within the elongated and interactive layers of the primary title track. Unlke many composers on the Cold Blue label, Polansky actually plays, as well as composing and arranging the pieces. The 20 minute title “FreeHorn” opens the set with Polansky performing on fretless electric guitar, with Giacomo Fiore on a standard electric guitar (for lack of a better term, nothing here is standard), Amy Beal (piano), David Dunn (electric violin), Monica Scott (cello), Tom Dambly (trumpet), Krystyna Bobrowski (French horn), and David Kant on tenor sax and computer. These musicians all hail from the Sana Cruz / Oakland / San Francisco area, and all are respected musicians and composers in their own rite, members of various ensembles at Mills College, UC Santa Cruz, and others in the greater Bay Area. “FreeHorn,” over its duration using protracted notes and multple layers of sound and silence produces a near trance like effect. The second piece “ii-v-i” is a little over eight minutes, and features only Polansky and Fiore on their respective guitars, a tightly composed sequence of criss-crossing colorful geometric musical shapes that cover the full range of the instruments, providing an intense kaleidoscopic world for the imagination to explore within. The album closes with “Minmaj,” another guitar duo, this time with both players on fretted electrics, doing an arrangement of Carl Ruggles’ 1921 composition “Angels,” a piece originally for muted brass. Three pieces here, all completely different, each with their own lexicon. Recommended listening.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Larry Polansky

Latest news

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Randy California - The Euro-American Years 1979-1983 – It merits discussion as to what, in the early 80s context, constituted the difference between a Spirit album and a Randy California album. Because nearly every Spirit composition in those days was...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues