Spacer, the title Jason Adasiewicz has given to the second album by Sun Rooms, the remarkable trio he shares with bassist Nate McBride and drummer Mike Reed, left me thinking that he and I must have been in near-telepathic contact at one point — because the term I’ve long linked to Adasiewicz’s music (but only in my mind) is “shaper.” That’s “shaper” as in “shape maker,” and, I would guess, ”spacer” as in “space maker” — not quite the same thing but close, because you do need space in order to make and then place a shape, while we on the receiving end need and usually get more space in which to perceive it.
In those more or less basic musical realms, Jason Adasiewicz, at age 34, seems to me a young master. But let me mention two other closely related matters — dimensionality and timbre. Adasiewicz, of course, plays the vibraphone, and in the past he has emphasized what anyone can hear: “The vibraphone has become very physical for me. I hit the instrument very hard…. An aluminum bar feels like a brick wall, but you can get spring from the cord that is suspending each bar of the instrument. I’ve felt most comfortable with trying to get those bars to resonate to the point of distortion…. I have never put away the drums
Thus the force with which one strikes the instrument’s bars becomes a crucial part of the musical mix, not unlike the blow with which a sculptor’s hammer strikes a chisel. In fact with the use of various means — the damper of course and, on the two solo pieces here, the backs of two violin bows — the results Adasiewicz gets can range from the imposingly gong-like to the dry and delicately skittering.
And timbre? Well, as Adasiewicz said, those forcefully struck bars resonate to a fare-the-well, and, I would say, in a manner that is unique to the mallet percussion family — every note being at once somewhat dissonant (because so many overtones are rubbing against each other) and part of the mallet percussion family’s “rhyming” timbral vocabulary. Here then continual (even seemingly microtonal) gradations of shading can arise — space and shape, dimensionality and timbre, all bedded down and hard at work under the covers.