Ball of Wax 50 Songs: KO SOLO – “Sunslip”

Saxophonist Kate Olson has been a fixture in Seattle’s multi-faceted jazz/improv/weird music scene for the past several years. As jazz musicians and improvisors tend to be, she’s an inveterate collaborator: I first heard her playing in the Syrinx Effect, her collaboration with trombonist Naomi Siegel, and she also has her own ensemble and has played with too many other groups around town to list here. But when she can, she sits down with her horn, her voice, and a looper and makes music as KO SOLO. “Sunslip” is from the new KO SOLO ep, Dreamer Too. As someone who dabbles in loop-based music, I can tell you that it’s very easy to make music with a looper, but pretty hard to make something compelling, a piece of music that draws the listener in and tells a story. Kate makes it look easy, though. She’s obviously put in her hours, both with her horn and her looper, and here spins out a gorgeous, thoughtful piece of music that came to life exactly as it was recorded. It starts with a simple beat and some tweedly, looped and layered melodic fragments that remind me of some of my favorite Lounge Lizards tunes; then come a series of whole notes, bringing some structure and shifting modes, and providing support for her lyrical, conversational melody, which comes in about halfway through. After the melody completes makes its closing argument, the loops start folding back in on each other and breaking down, before collapsing completely with a few beats of delay. I could listen to this all day.

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