Bill Laswell’s “Incunabula” is a series of digital-only releases from the M.O.D. Technologies label. It has expanded the bassist-producer’s palette in directions ancient and futuristic, allowing freedom to strengthen his expressive reach. Part of that freedom includes promotion of artists from many walks of life, each highlighting one gradation of an ever-expanding spectrum. An apt metaphor, to be sure, in the context of I Colored It In For You. This debut single by SPARKLER kicks off the latest project from multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum, of New York Hieroglyphics fame. Having played with artists as varied as Don Cherry and the Grateful Dead, Apfelbaum presents here a 21st-century assembly of Natalie Cressman on vocals/trombone, Jill Ryan on vocals/alto sax, Will Bernard on guitar, Barney McAll on homemade instruments, Willard Dyson on drums, and co-producer Aaron Johnston (of Brazilian Girls) on drums and programming. Together they slide their way through two distinct tracks.
In the album’s EPK, Apfelbaum admits an affinity for extremes, as evident both within and between the song’s bifurcation. Part 1 shakes the night sky free of its galactic mess and uses it as a canvas for fresh, playful songwriting. The lyrics, while seemingly haphazard, reveal the randomness of a relatable mindset. Cressman and Ryan dress declarations of independence like “I’m gonna do it all” in frills of youthful confidence. It’s a whimsical contrast to the slickly crafted road beneath, and just off-center enough to make it endearing. “You make we wanna write ’til my memory is full” is another memorable line that blurs the separation between body and technology. The chorus moves through an honest groove, giving way to smooth horn work from the vocalists. Part 2 is more keyboard-driven and contradicts the previous incarnation with gentler, ephemeral transferences. A less bold and more reflective side of the band, it is an extreme in and of itself.
Rounding out the single is a Mix Translation (dub remix) by Laswell, who emphasizes the dreamy undercurrent, deepening the intro’s spatial qualities while rendering the voices into occasional messengers. A key bass line and drum beat kick things into gear, horns hopping in along the way, as the title phrase emerges in intermittent signals. Laswell crosses the song’s inner arc through gorgeous break-flow, surfacing with coral souvenirs.
It’s just the beginning of a journey, and I’m gonna hear it all.
(For ordering information, please visit M.O.D. Technologies here.)