Premoticon, a collaborative duo between reeds player Patrick Breiner and bassist Will McEvoy, released their second album to a sold-out crowd at Douglass Street Music Collective last night. I have never seen the space on Douglass so energized and filled with an array of artists and non-musicians. But this should not come as a surprise. McEvoy is an inventive musician with a keen ear. Breiner is a confident, theatrical player who has emerged as one of the leaders of the 30-and-under generation of creative musicians in Brooklyn. The strength of both artists is their sensitivity to small sounds. Both are bold when they want to be, but their most rewarding work comes from their attention to subtle, momentary, even fleeting sounds that they capture with precision.
Their sophomore record is excellent–I reviewed it earlier this week. When performing live, both players elevate their playing in ways that only the live setting allows. McEvoy’s outward calm belies his acute aesthetic sense, focus upon detail, and ability to glean startling possibilities in the moment. Breiner’s approach to improvisation is all-encompassing and involves constant physical movement. During last night’s show, he switched between clarinet and tenor saxophone, while also using pieces of both instruments to create additional sounds from an upright piano. Breiner is particularly aware of the physical environment that he inhabits and interacts creatively with it. The most brilliant example of this was his use of one of the hanging light bulbs as a mute towards the end of the set–not only was it sonically productive, but it exemplified his in-the-moment spontaneity and no-holds-barred nature of playing.
For those interested in Premoticon’s second album, it is available in both physical and digital format here. Definitely try to catch them the next time they play live.