I’m not sure if bassist Carl Testa
has anything against linear notions of time, but he sure seems drawn to music that turns time into a kitten-tangled ball of yarn. Testa, who grew up in Chicago but now lives in Connecticut, is a member of the Anthony Braxton Septet, whose performances on Echo Echo Mirror House
slam the past into the present by injecting the compositions with decades of music loaded onto iPods. Testa’s own work is less dense, but it still uses technology to twist time out of line. On Iris
), his new solo CD, Testa uses real-time sampling and granular synthesis—which processes grains of signal lasting only a few milliseconds, altering their timbre and pitch—in order to transform the keening cries and deep, woody groans of his double bass into ray-gun blasts and synthetic pops. He then reorganizes the electronically altered elements into tangential melodies that spiral away from the original as well as clusters of sound that expand into fractal shapes, in neither case entirely abandoning the kernel of the tune. —Bill Meyer The Grant Wallace Band opens.