The year 2015 marked an astounding accomplishment in composition for Ingrid Laubrock. With the release of “Roulette of the Cradle” and “Ubatuba,” Laubrock provided the jazz community with two intriguing pieces of music that contrasted each other quite nicely. On her new album “Buoyancy,” Laubrock has left composition by the wayside, instead electing to hash it out in a completely free situation with drummer Tom Rainey.
Generally speaking, the album contains a lot of ups and downs. This is not to say that the way certain events unfold is completely predictable, however, the duo tend to juxtapose loud and soft with slow digressions and ascensions filling the space between. On the final portion of the album, “Thunderbird,” something slightly different happens: the group plays with subtlety never fully leaving the territory of minimalism. Laubrock repeats long drones on a single note growing from the sound of air to more concrete vibrations with tiny snare sounds accompanying her the whole way.
Rainey mostly plays the tonalities of his toms and cymbols during “Thunderbird,” but in one moment he transcends his subdued playing space with a small collection of spirited snare hits. Rainey has a brilliant sense of musicality and his input on this quiet piece complements Laubrock perfectly. By providing one specific moment of power, Rainey adds a perfect level of vivid imagery to the abstract soundscape.
With the addition of this particularly somber ending, the album leaves the audience with something to think about. Instead of growing into one final climax with both members of the group playing as fast and loud as possible, the audience is forced to listen tightly to the nuances of abstraction.