Michael Mull is a saxophonist and composer of surprising breadth and depth and to say his music is chameleonic is an understatement. On Source Code, the debut album of his flagship ensemble, the Michael Mull Octet, he shows just how cutting and poignant a paradox can be. It’s dark yet uplifting, wrenching yet airy, manic yet precise, crushingly heavy and ineffably light – in a single listen the listener is taken on an epic ride through styles and moods, yet the message never strays far from the source.
I grew up listening to classic rock from the 60's, 70's and 80's. As I grew in years and in music, I continued to Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, Pantera and Meshuggah, to electronic film scores by Ulver, to Björk, to Bulgarian women's choirs. This music all means so much to me, and is so varied, I have always looked for ways to distill and filter what I love about each sound into my own music. (Michael Mull)
Michael’s experience with music as a listener is becoming an increasingly common one. The information age has made the adjacency of previously disparate musical styles almost expected. Why shouldn’t music reflect this? In an increasingly unified world culture, our differences diminish and our common language expands. Music and art should, and do, carry this torch.
In songs like Charlie Visits Plovdiv Mull’s imagined narrative informs his writing in deliciously profound ways. Here he imagines Charles Mingus visiting Bulgaria and playing with the local musicians. But the street goes both ways; while Mingus is enraptured in the bouncing dance rhythms of Balkan folk music, the Bulgarians are swooned by his thumping, urgent, driving blues bass – a ruckus ensues that sounds