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Kuzu (Rempis / Dorji / Damon): Purple Dark Opal (Aerophonic)

In 2018 on their 2nd tour, the Kuzu trio of Dave Rempis on alto, tenor & baritone saxophones, Tashi Dorji on guitar, and Tyler Damon on drums, captured this, their 15th concert in the tour, at The Sugar Maple, in Milwaukee, an extended improvisation that lives up to its title in dark ruminations that reveal beauty and rare color through powerful and passionate playing.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Dave Rempis-alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone

Tashi Dorji-guitar

Tyler Damon-drums


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UPC: 902249002164

Label: Aerophonic
Catalog ID: AR025
Squidco Product Code: 28524

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at The Sugar Maple, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14th, 2018, by Dave Zuchowski.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Purple Dark Opal is the second release by the working trio Kuzu, a band whose deep roots in disparate musical traditions delivers a sound that's not only new, but totally organic. Saxophonist Dave Rempis is best known for his work in the improvised music scene in Chicago, often exploring areas at the farthest edge of the jazz tradition. Guitarist Tashi Dorji, a native of Bhutan, came up through the active noise scene in his home base of Asheville, NC. The last decade has found him deep in that world nationally and internationally, putting out ear on splittingly in on your on face solo records, regularly opening for Godspeed You Black Emperor on their concert tours in the US and Europe, and touring frequently with duo partners Thom Nguyen, Mette Rasmussen, and Kuzu drummer Tyler Damon. That last pairing was the band that caught Rempis' ear a few years back, and Damon is clearly the musical link here on someone who works comfortably in the avant on garde jazz scene in Chicago, as well as in the rock and noise world holding the drum chair for Circuit Des Yeux, Thee Open Sex, and in his duo with bassist Darin Gray.

After their first concert outing in the fall of September 2017, the three left the stage exhilarated, and knew immediately that this was a BAND. Immediately planning more work together, they released that concert as an Astral Spirits LP titled Hiljaisuus in August 2018, later released on cd by Aerophonic Records. That fall they did twenty dates on the road in the US, rolling up their sleeves to develop a promising union into a real working unit. The results of that effort are documented here on Purple Dark Opal on recorded live in Milwaukee, WI as concert number fifteen of that extended run.

And what do we find after all that work? Rempis' penchant for pentatonic melodies and rough and tumble timbres combines seamlessly with Dorji's thick, raw sound and singular approach to intonation, buttressed by Damon's rapid on fire yet powerful stickwork, to produce a music that's exquisitely detailed at any one point in time, yet carries the narrative arc of the lengthy piece presented here without ever losing its coordinates. In this music you can hear the many hours together in a van roaming the hills of Tennessee and Pennsylvania, the plains of Texas and Illinois, and the forests of North Carolina and New England, trading playlists ranging from jazz icons like Pharaoh Sanders and Yusef Lateef to Scandinavian black metal bands like Craft and Darkthrone.

While this isn't a new thing in creative music on broad ears are a trademark of musicians in this world on what makes the pairing so unique is the truly organic way in which they string these influences together into a coherent sound. This isn't a Frankenstein pastiche of bits and pieces held together with duct tape and glue, and a paper on thin conception. This is an emotionally deep and sincere effort to join genuinely disparate influences arrived at only through patient toil. When we ask if Rempis is channeling Coltrane, or a Turkish clarinet player; does Dorji sound like a Delta bluesman, or a southeast Asian rocker from the 70's; is that Art Blakey or John Bonham rolling out through Damon's toms; the answer is undoubtedly all of the above. And yet, despite the breadth of the trio's inspirations, their music never collapses under the weight of its aspirations, fearlessly carving out a new corner in the broader sonic landscape. " on Aerophonic



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Artist Biographies

"Dave Rempis was born in Wellesley, Massachusetts on March 24th, 1975. He began his musical studies at the age of 8, inspired by a family friend who played clarinet in local Greek bands, and by Zoot, of the Muppets Band, to pick up saxophone. During high school he performed in his town, district, and all-state bands and wind ensembles, as well as in a jazz combo at a local music school.

In 1993, Rempis began a degree in classical saxophone at Northwestern University with Frederick Hemke. Finding this environment stifling, Rempis quickly ditched the music degree to pursue studies in anthropology and ethnomusicology. As part of these studies, he spent a year at the International Centre for African Music and Dance at the University of Ghana, Legon, studying African music and ethnomusicology. He also continued to perform with many different types of groups, ranging from highlife and reggae bands while in Ghana, to jazz, free jazz, funk, and contemporary music ensembles at home. He graduated from Northwestern in 1997.

Upon graduating, Rempis decided to focus on performing, and in March of 1998 at the age of 22 was asked to replace veteran saxophonist Mars Williams in the well-known Chicago jazz outfit The Vandermark Five. This opportunity catapulted him to notoriety as he began to tour regularly throughout the US and Europe playing clubs, concert halls, and festivals on both continents.

During his tenure with The Vandermark Five, Rempis also began to develop the many Chicago-based groups and international collaborations for which he's currently known, including The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, Ballister, Rempis/Abrams/Ra, Wheelhouse, The Rempis/Rosaly Duo, and The Rempis/Daisy Duo. Many of these groups have been documented on the Okkadisk, 482 Music, Not Two, Clean Feed, Solitaire, and Utech record labels. Past collaborations have included performances with Paul Lytton, Axel Dörner, Peter Brötzmann, Hamid Drake, Steve Swell, John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Kevin Drumm, Paal Nilssen-Love, Nels Cline, Tony Buck, and Joe McPhee. Rempis has been named regularly since 2006 in the annual Downbeat Critics's Poll as a "rising star" on alto saxophone, and as a "rising star" and "established talent" on baritone saxophone.

Aside from performing, Rempis is also active as a presenter. Since 2002, he's curated a weekly Thursday-night concert series for the Elastic Arts Foundation. The series has featured over 500 concerts by some of the best improvisers from around the world, while maintaining a focus on up-and-coming local musicians. In late 2005, Rempis helped form the presenters' collective Umbrella Music, working with a small group of musicians and presenters in Chicago to provide better playing opportunities for creative and improvising musicians. As part of this group, he organized the annual Umbrella Music Festival from 2006-2014.

Rempis is also one of the main organizers of the indie-rock Pitchfork Music Festival, a 60,000-person event which takes place in Chicago's Union Park every July."

-Dave Rempis Website (http://daverempis.com/bio/)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Tashi Dorji grew up in Bhutan, on the eastern side of the Himalayas. Residing in Asheville since 2000 and soaking up a vast array of music. Along the way, Dorji developed a playing style unbound by tradition, yet with a direct line to intuitive artistry. His recordings feature improvisations that spasmodically grow along tangential, surprising paths. All references break loose during a composition, as Dorji keys into his own inner world.

His compositions drag the listener into a labyrinth of warbling tones, where each sound seems to jump out and replace the eerie silence that would otherwise occupy the atmosphere. The textures remain sustained in the reverberation as the vibration of the strings dwindle and ascend. The experience is one equally disorienting and reflective, in which Dorji's musicianship brings haunting beauty and mindfulness to the listener. After a handful of releases on various labels since 2009, Dorji presented his debut LP on Hermit Hut, the label created by Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance) in 2014. Since then Tashi has released music in various formats on labels like Bathetic Records, Cabin Floor Esoterica, Blue Tapes, Marmara Records, Feeding Tubes,VDSQ & MIE."

-Tashi Dorji Website (https://tashidorji.com/music/)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Tyler Damon (b. 1987, Cincinnati, OH USA) is a Bloomington, Indiana based artist whose work aims to reveal obscured and untold narratives via drums/percussion & free improvisation.

Tyler is currently involved in extended duo exhibitions with guitarist Tashi Dorji and bassist Darin Gray (as Duo Oninbo). He also regularly performs as a soloist.

Often recognized for his contributions to the shapeshifting outfit Open Sex, other collaborators have included Mette Rasmussen (as a trio w/ Tashi Dorji), Mars Williams, Daniel Carter, Peter Maunu, Ken Vandermark, Little Howlin' Wolf, Kent Kessler, Albert Wildeman, Dave Rempis, Jason Adasiewicz, Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten, Robert Beatty, Ross Hammond, Ed Ricart, Jon Lorenz, Chris Trull (of Grand Ulena, Yowie), Brian Sandstrom (of NRG Ensemble), Muyassar Kurdi, Steve Marquette, Kevin Harris, Mark Hosler (of Negativland), Matthew Setzler, Keith Jost, Thom Nguyen (as Manas trio), Sarah Louise, Matt Shuff (as the Vulgar Mudflaps), Curt Oren, Matthew Schneider (Moon Bros), John Morton (of X_X), Craig Bell (of X_X, Rocket From The Tombs), Nathan Warrick (as Canned Hamms Blues Band), Circuit Des Yeux (Haley Fohr), Homme (Sima Cunningham & Macie Stewart), Lech, Sir Deja Doog's Love Coffin and Sitar Outreach Ministry, among others.

Tyler has toured extensively in North America and is also regularly engaged with other artists, musicians and heads of various sorts across the American Midwest. From his home base of Bloomington he operates his own label, Yoke, and hosts the long-running free-form/experimental radio program Melody Unasked For on Bloomington, IN community radio station WFHB. From 2010-2015, he was a principal curator of "out" music in the Bloomington area, namely at The Artifex Guild and the now-defunct House at the Bottom of the Hill. He has been described by Darin Gray as "the up-and-coming young drummer in the Midwest and a voice that will be active for years to come." Tyler's recorded output has been primarily offered by the labels Magnetic South, Family Vineyard, Auris Apothecary, Astral Spirits & Yoke."

-Tyler Damon Website (http://www.tylerdamon.com/bio/)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. To The Quick (55:45)

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings
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Aerophonic.


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