AMN Reviews: Ensemble Resonanz, Elliott Sharp, Gareth Davis – “Oceanus Procellarum” [Cavity Search CSR101]

OP_CoverElliott Sharp has been a key figure in New York City’s experimental music scene for more than thirty years. He is a musician of incredible range with significant works spanning free improvisation, blues, jazz, electronic, noise, chamber, and orchestral music. Sharp’s work has been inspired by his deep interest in science and mathematics. He has developed a unique musical syntax that is informed by fractal geometry, chaos theory, algorithmic and biological processes. On “Oceanus Procellarum” Elliott Sharp teams up with Gareth Davis and the Ensemble Resonanz.

The Ensemble Resonanz is an unusual chamber orchestra based in Saint Pauli, Hamburg. The ensemble is democratically organized and makes its home at the resonanzraum – a concert space built inside of an old bunker. The resonanzraum is both unique and informal with more of a club atmosphere than that of the traditional concert hall.  The Ensemble Resonanz regularly performs monthly programs at the resonanzraum that aim to bridge the musical past with the present.

Gareth Davis is a clarinetist that primarily performs on the bass and contrabass clarinets. Like Sharp, he is a musician of incredible range and interests. Davis’s work spans the worlds of contemporary classical, to free improvisation, to rock, noise and electronica. Davis has a wonderful sound and incredible technical command of the bass clarinet. He has premiered works by Jonathan Harvey, Bernhard Lang, Peter Ablinger and Toshio Hosokawa. Davis has performed and collaborated with JACK Quartet, monster cellist Frances Marie Uitti, Merzbow and Christian Marclay.

Elliott Sharp’s “Oceanus Procellarum” is a work filled with propulsive development that is rich in rhythmic and timbral complexity. “Oceanus Procellarum” was recorded live at its UK premiere during the 2016 Huddersfield Festival. This performance was beautifully recorded and has a sound that is much larger than the chamber ensemble of twelve strings plus the two soloists. “Oceanus Procellarum” which translates to Ocean of Storms is a thirty-eight minute through composed piece in five sections with each section consisting of multiple episodes.  Sharp constructed the piece to be a kind of intersection between two moving fronts somewhat like a concerto in that it pits the two soloists – Elliott Sharp on electro-acoustic guitar and Gareth Davis on bass clarinet against the strings of the Ensemble Resonanz. The piece creates a sound world where textures build, form and transform in a kind of attraction and repulsion as the two moving fronts move into and out from each other. The composition has a raw intensity with many dramatic shifts where events can suddenly move from very intense large sound bodies to moments of reflection only to suddenly be challenged by the arrival of another moving front.

Since improvisation is at the heart of Elliott Sharp’s work it is likely that some elements of improvisation or performer choice are part of this score and this enables the soloists – Sharp and Davis, who are outstanding, to create an atmosphere of spontaneity throughout the performance. The strings are called upon to use many extended techniques including “alternate bows” constructed from various metal springs and wooden sticks. Despite what must be a challenging score to perform, the Ensemble Resonanz really brings this music to life. The timbral range produced by the entire ensemble and soloists is stunning. They effortlessly move from chaotic clouds to throbbing masses of growing clusters to ethereal almost ambient reflections to sparkling and brassy counterpoint to intense primal rhythmic unisons and eventually they end in a bed of very soft bowed white noise.

“Oceanus Procellarum” is an exciting listen. Old hands will really enjoy it and newcomers will find it a great place to start as it is absolutely one of Elliott Sharp’s best chamber works.  Highly Recommended!

Chris De Chiara

Wadada Leo Smith Interview

Source: Red Bull Radio.

Wadada Leo Smith is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser whose studies of African, Japanese, European, American and Indonesian music, and invention of the systemic music language Ankhrasmation, have made him one of the most celebrated trumpeters living today. Starting out in marching bands and R&B groups as a teenager in his native Mississippi, he moved on to playing in the Delta blues and improvisational traditions, styles that he developed in the US military band program in the early 1960s. He studied ethnomusicology at the Sherwood School of Music and at Wesleyan University in the ’70s; a noted academic, he teaches at various universities and worked as the director of the African-American Improvisational Music program at CalArts, among other titles. Smith has spent decades developing his trumpet and flugelhorn techniques, and has studied instruments like the atenteben, the Ghanaian bamboo flute. As well as releasing over 40 albums as a band leader since the ‘70s, Smith’s multi-faceted approach to jazz has drawn collaborations with artists like Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Vijay Iyer and Henry Kaiser. A practicing Muslim, Smith draws on philosophy, spirituality and a worldly knowledge of music to create his art.

Time Spans Festival in NY

Source: Earle Brown Music Foundation.

The TIME SPANS festival will have its season # 3 in the summer of 2017 at the DiMenna Center, Mary Flagler Cary Hall, New York City.

Five concerts, performed by TALEA Ensemble, Bozzini Quartet and JACK quartet, will take place between August 1st and August 5th, 2017.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 8:00 pm
TALEA Ensemble
Jeffrey Means, conductor
Caley Monahon-Ward, audio engineer
Mayu Hirano, Bloom, for ensemble (2017)
Hunjoo Jung, GESTALT I: Discursive Unities (2017)
Chaya Czernowin, AYRE:TOWED (2016)
Ayre: Towed through plumes, thicket, asphalt, sawdust and hazardous air I shall not forget the sound
A commission of Ensemble Norrbotten NEO Sweden.
Martin Bauck, nightmares. Bonaria (2017)
Steven Takasugi, Diary of a Lung (2017)
Premiere of the version for 16 musicians, electronic playback and amplification (2006-07 / 2016-17)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 8:00 pm
TALEA Ensemble
Jeffrey Means, conductor
Caley Monahon-Ward, audio engineer
Sam Salem, The Lovers (2017)
Christine Burke, half murmur (2017)
Weston Olencki, browser – for sixteen players; cache
– for multi-channel diffused sound (2017)
Jeffery Shivers, minimum enclosure (2017)
Hans Tutschku, periods of existence (2016)

Thursday, August 3, 2017, 8:00 pm
JACK Quartet
John Luther Adams, Everything That Rises (2017), NYC premiere

Friday, August 4, 2017, 8:00 pm
Juerg Frey, Unhoerbare Zeit (2004-06) (string quartet and percussion)
Juerg Frey, Streichquartett 3 (2010-2014)
Quatuor Bozzini: Isabelle Bozzini, Stephanie Bozzini, Alissa Cheung, Clemens Merkel
Percussion: Isaiah Ceccarelli, Noam Bierstone

Saturday, August 5, 2017, 8:00 pm
TALEA Ensemble
Jeffrey Means, conductor
Ms. Mollena Lee Williams-Haas, storyteller
Georg Friedrich Haas, Hyena (2016), text by Ms. Mollena Williams-Haas

Ornette Coleman’s Innovations Are Celebrated at Lincoln Center 

English: Ornette Coleman at Enjoy Jazz Festiva...

Source: The New York Times.

In Ornette Coleman’s most mythic period, from the late 1950s into the early ’60s, he released a run of albums for Atlantic Records that bent the blues-based sound of Charlie Parker into a looser and more inclusive style — all molded around Coleman’s bright and pure alto saxophone sound. These were years of intense creative release; by their end, Coleman had established an understanding of what’s now called free jazz.

King Crimson Fall North American Tour

Robert Fripp, playing with King Crimson

Source: DGM Live.

Now in their 48th year, King Crimson will be returning to America in the Fall of 2017! The new dates see the group performing in some states and cities that have not been visited in a while. Atlanta, Georgia, for example, last had live Crimson music in 2001, while Texas has experienced something of an epic Crimson drought since 1974, not counting ProjeKct Three’s week-long residency in the Lone Star state during March 1999.

Tour dates:
19 Oct Bass Concert Hall, Austin, TX
21 Oct Music Hall, Dallas, TX
23 Oct Center Stage, Atlanta, GA
24 Oct Center Stage, Atlanta, GA
26 Oct Duke Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, Raleigh, NC
28 Oct Lisner Auditorium, Washington D.C.
29 Oct Lisner Auditorium, Washington D.C.
31 Oct New Jersey Performing Arts Centre, Newark, NJ
02 Nov Merriam Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
03 Nov Merriam Theatre, Philadelphia. PA
06 Nov Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
08 Nov The Egg, Albany, NY
09 Nov The Egg, Albany, NY – tickets
11 Nov Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, PA
17 Nov Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
18 Nov Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
22 Nov Michigan Theatre, Ann Arbor, MI
24 Nov Hard Rock Rocksino, Cleveland, OH
26 Nov Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee, WI

5049 Records Podcast Episode 123 – Kenneth Goldsmith 

Kenneth Goldsmith

Source: 5049 Records.

For episode 123 it is my great honor to welcome poet, archivist and radical thinker, Kenneth Goldsmith onto the show. Active since the late 80s, Kenneth Goldsmith is a true original. He started Ubuweb in 1996, one of the internet’s richest resources for the Avant-Garde, a website that one can get lost in and come out much richer for it. He’s published several books, most recently “Capital”, an unrivaled work that pays tribute to New York of the 20th century entirely through quotations. Kenneth is a true mage and this conversation was an utter delight.