Cole Pulice is a Minneapolis-based saxophonist who’s musicianship and instrumental prowess has accompanied artists as diverse as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Bon Iver, and Mild High Club. Pulice also plays in the lo-fi New Age band Iceblink. He’s a solid reed player with an air of eccentricity that gives whatever song he’s on its own unique vibe. You can’t play with such a diverse group of artists and not have a unique vibe. You’d be swallowed up by what’s going on around you.
Cole Pulice has released his solo debut, titled Gloam, with Moon Glyph Records. According to Moon Glyph’s Bandcamp page, “Gloam is an album of audio holograms for tenor saxophone and hardware, recorded live without overdubs.” To my ears, Pulice takes his tenor sax to new and exciting sonic worlds. The songs here sound like electronic, interpretive paintings come to life. Swaths of musical color dance on canvas as inspiration takes over. You can hear bits of Colin Stetson, John Cage, and the droning bliss of Terry Riley here. And when Pulice lets his tenor fly the spirit of the great John Coltrane flutters in and out of view. Gloam is a joy to experience.
Hearing an artist get lost in their own world is something to behold. Letting all expectations lie at the studio door and allowing oneself the freedom to go where the muse takes you is one of the most satisfying and artistically enriching experiences for both creator and spectator. Cole Pulice mixes soulful playing, ambient drones, and open sonic spaces into a 30-minute deep dive into of musical exploration.
“Lymns” is the piece that pulls you into Pulice’s world. It has a very Colin Stetson feel to it, putting me in mind of his Hereditary score. I’m not quite sure what I’m hearing, but it’s like an accordion being pulled in and out of a black hole. A wavering of notes twisting and shapeshifting. “Sleep Helix” has the sound of notes floating in space. It’s an intimate piece that toys with sparseness among muted melody. “Bone Prisms” is the centerpiece of Gloam. A drone-filled eight-minute track that has the spirit of Terry Riley getting lost in a New York studio with John Coltrane for an afternoon. It’s truly an exquisite piece.
Elsewhere, “Arc of Shadows” sounds like the distant beginnings of a universe waking. It’s barely there, but as you keep your eyes peeled you experience a sort of sleepy brilliance. “Bloom” leads us down the path like some kind sonic pied piper. Saxophone manipulations and electronic coloring turns a tenor saxophone into an robotic reed section; twisting, echoing, and repeating over each other until they dissipate into the ether.
Gloam is a far out and exquisite piece of sound experimentation. Sometimes playful and exuberant, while other times sparse and ambient, Cole Pulice lets his imagination and musical prowess off the leash and do as it feels. According to Moon Glyph, “Cole’s circadian rhythm disorder manifests in sleep-wake cycles that seem to collapse the boundary between “days”; sunsets and sunrises coalescing into one another, ad infinitum.”
Right on, man.
8.1 out of 10
Cole Pulice’s ‘Gloam’ is available now via Moon Glyph Records digitally and on limited edition cassette. Buy it here.