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CD Review: Dan Phillips - Divergent Flow

Dan Phillips – Guitar Krzysztof Pabian – Bass Tim Daisy – Drums

Record Label: Lizard Breath Records On the thought provoking and explorative Divergent Flow, guitarist Dan Phillips leads his trio on seven contemplative and adventurous pieces that crackle with spontaneity. A professor of music in Bangkok, Phillips returns occasionally to Chicago and the current album was recorded during one of these sojourns. Joining him are two past collaborators: bassist Krzysztof Pabian and drummer Tim Daisy. A few of the tunes are collectively improvised and demonstrate the musicians’ seamless camaraderie.

The sublime “Latitude” has an Eastern flavor with its Zen-like utilization of silent pauses and hypnotic, chant- like refrains. Phillips uses sparse tones to punctuate Pabian’s mournful serene bowing and angular reverberations. Daisy makes his instruments chime and echo as the strings exchange pensive chords. The abstract and somber soundscape that results from the three-way ad-lib performance brims with spirituality and introspection. Another example is the expectant and intriguing “Extricated From.” Daisy’s percussion tolls and Pabian’s bass groans as Phillips contributes resonant and wistful strums. The delightfully atonal exchanges grow dramatic and mystical. Both the group and individual performances are intelligent and subtly emotive as they evoke melancholy tinged modernistic poetry. Phillips originals, although have more structure, are equally captivating with their complexity and their refreshing impromptu expressiveness. The title track, for instance, starts off with a crisp and energetic head, which then unravels to a meandering, simmering melody that thrills with its unfettered flow and strong lyrical sense. Here, too, the group showcases the brilliant synergy within it. Elsewhere the fiery “Dip” opens Pabian’s furious and crisp con arco. Daisy’s thunderous burst leads to a dissonant guitar solo. Daisy showcases his prowess on his kit in thrilling polyrhythms. Each man takes his turn in brief and heady monologues until these individual streams of consciousness overlap in a riotous and uniquely moving style concluding on a passionate note.

With each release Phillips’ sound continues to mature and expand. What remains unchanged is his imaginative creativity and his restless inventiveness. These and his shared musical vision with his sidemen—accomplished artists in their own rights—are what make this recording an absorbing musical treat.

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