[sic] Magazine

Cole Pulice – Gloam

Think contemporary sax experimentation and you can’t help but think of the maestro, Colin Stetson. Perhaps you can name one or two more from your local scene too … maybe, say, that out-there player David McLean of Gnod and others. There will inevitably always be countless Avant jazz boffins too if you’re that way inclined. Elevating himself from the footnotes now too comes Minneapolis-based tenor saxophonist Cole Pulice, who as well as featuring on the Iceblink record recently covered on these pages, has also worked with Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Bon Iver amongst others.

A glowing resume therefore in his pocket, Gloam is Pulice’s debut solo album and – a blend of electronic ambience, drone and virtuoso noodling – it’s a textural series of drifting tones that float on by largely unchallenged during the nebulous 35-minute run-time. Surging sax parts are met in harmony by simmering synth, micro-detail hardware erasing uniformity across the many repeats. Pulice’s rich tenor is a world away from the bray of the alto, his low and melancholy notes bellowing out across the lonely landscape like the last of its species calling for a mate. “Sleep Helix” is consequently sorrowful but still soothing, the 8-minute “Bone Prisms” more unsettling in turn, its humming on-board computers setting an uneasy drone for sustained, shape-shifting sax to skim over its surface.

Wetting its reeds in turn, the electro buzz of “Neurochrome” is treated to a scrambled interruption of sax and something resembling the wheezy protestations of an accordion, while “Arc Of Shadows”, although lightly menacing, is altogether more zen, nevertheless conjuring the slow creep of a classic sci-fi score in which the protagonists suffer from insomnia on a planet where the sun never sets. From minimal to maximal in a single bound, the euphoric closer then blossoms into improvised layering that really tests Pulice and his instrument’s full range of valves. Gloam is not a common-or-garden listen as a result, but for those given the horn by brass this rare strain of New Age jazz may just prove essential.

~Gloam is out now via Moon Glyph.~