Robin Holcomb: The Point of It All

[15 February 2011]

By Steve Horowitz

If you are looking for the point of it all, then Robin Holcomb’s latest release is for you. She, too, is a seeker. The 13 tracks on The Point of It All offer improvisations and investigations into the heart and soul of experimental jazz. Assisted by the band Talking Pictures and her husband, keyboardist Wayne Horwitz, the composer-singer-pianist takes journeys to carnival-like atmospheres of “Tiny Swing” and the natural world of “The Rain” with equal aplomb. When her accompanists on “10.15.07” make sounds that resemble nighttime creaks in the apartment with the buzz of electric currents, Holcomb is tuned in enough to let the rhythms sputter and spark before trying to control them. On the tracks with vocals, such as “Against the Drift” and “The Scavenger Song”, Holcomb sings around and through the melodies so that the others end up chasing her down, creating a nervous tension in alignment with what is happening in the narrative. She never seems to be at peace. Holcomb looks for rest, but as she alludes to on the title tune, “The Point of It All”, one keeps on keeping on until the end, always looking, never finding.

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