Adam Diller

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Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor

Born: February 11, 1980    

Influenced by Sri Aurobindo as much as J Dilla, Thomas Pynchon as much as Edgar Varese, Charles Bronson as much as Sun Ra, Adam Diiler occupies an enigmatic position in the realm between jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music.

BNSF emerge from the Seattle improvisation scene and their music registers the character of a gritty urban soundscape. Adam Diller plays saxophone. Timbales and microphone, with Matt Crane on drums, percussion and sampler, while Jason E Anderson moves between guitar, laptop, electronics, harmonica and microphone. Diller's saxophonics and Crane's drumming retain links, with the ragged margins of jazz freedom and fire, but the collective readiness to engage with sounds as such tilts the trio into less overtly mediated encounters with noise. Concrete field recordings surface in places, contrasting with wild instrumental intensities reminiscent of Borbetomagus. These sampled environmental traces make audible a pervasive debt, shared by all three of these releases, to John Cage's admonition to listen to everyday life. By extension they also suggest further indebtedness to Marcel Duchamp's teasing play with aesthetic assumptions and the customary placement and meaning of ordinary objects.

Julian Cowley, The Wire

Releasing an album on Chicago's Locust Music label is an honor, and Seattle trio BNSF earn it with Object 6. At its most extreme, BNSF's music ripples, squeals, wails, splutters, and ululates like a menagerie of agitated beasts forced to endure Mariah Carey's Greatest Hits. Saxophonist Adam Diller scars the air with the tenacity of free-jazz titan Archie Shepp while percussionist Matt Crane and guitarist Jason E. Anderson conjure the chaotic scrabbling of improv explorers M.E.V. As if deconstructing the sounds of a construction zone, BNSF recreate the subliminal susurrations and cryptic whirs of machines whose functions you can't fathom.?

Dave Segal, the stranger

Object 6 can be both idle (”Sorghum for Forage”'s lonely train whistle and flycatcher spark), and violent (the fluttery, drunken-bird sax of “These had essentially the same effect on guinea pigs as live BCG” and “Aureomycin”'s shrill, “Meat is Murder”-esque slaughterhouse saw recreation). BNSF are thoroughly alert improvisers, never resorting to some of the lazy crutches that stultify other artists of their ilk. Here they've convincingly emulated the whirr of industrial activity, while at the same time making an orchestra out of train yards and stiff winds.?

Adam Strom, Dusted

The high point of the evening was a short juggernaut of a set by local trio BNSF, named after the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad line. The aptness of that moniker became immediately apparent as drummer Matt Crane took off like a runaway locomotive, powered by his clear internalization of 60's and 70's free jazz kit heroes, but also ultimately cutting that tether and racing along hell-bent just biting distance ahead of the beat. Jason Anderson, playing a Gibson SG through laptop electronics, made noisy textures so rumbling, deep and drenched in overtones that they seemed to issue from below the earth's crust. I've heard Anderson's fine work in a variety of contexts, and this one seemed the most perfect match for his particular combination of raze-it-all-to-the-ground intensity and sonic gorgeousness.

If BNSF is a runaway train, then Adam Diller on saxophone and timbale s is the escaped convict/lunatic clutching to its rattling roof, trying to gain entry by smashing his boots through a high window. Diller's trademark use of slowly morphing repetition and sudden stops and starts was exaggerated to become almost dadaist in its toying with audience expectation. His timbale playing especially had

an electric- muppet-with-an-erratic-power-supply kind of quality. Their set came to a end when Anderson had broken all six strings of his guitar.

Cristin Miller, Signal to Noise

Few bands live up to their names, but BNSF, named after the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train, defiantly do. Adam Diller (reeds and occasional timbales), Matt Crane (drums), and Jason Anderson (guitar, electronics, and when required, portable generator), unleash a rumbling, shuddering, shambling avalanche of saxophone squalls, distorted guitar, and convulsions of laptop-treated sound catapulted by incantatory cannonades of cymbals and drums. I've heard BNSF many times, most recently at the “Wall of Death,” a poorly sited piece of public art secreted under the University Bridge. I tore a scrap of cardboard from a weathered (and, alas, empty) box of Corona nearby and scrawled “Crane stands before his drum kit as if dowsing--sheer volume transforms and envelops the surrounding acoustic space.” Several months ago, I asked Crane about his unmistakably bosomy drum sound. “Old drums,” he confided. “Those old drums were made of ancient hardwoods you can't get anymore.”

Christopher DeLaurenti, the stranger

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Featured recording “$.99 Dreams”

$.99 Dreams

Self Produced (2007)
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