The Squid's Ear Magazine


Bruckmann / Djll / Heule / Nishi-Smith: Brittle Feebling (Humbler)

The title gives a sense of the unusual acoustic improvisation this West Coast collective perform, along with their description "prickles and bleats, an abrasive delicacy; fricative rasp and withheld breath seethe together in a discomfiting cuddle" — from Kyle Bruckmann on oboe & English horn, Tom Djll on trumpet, Jacob Felix Heule on floor tom, and Kanoko Nishi-Smith on koto.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Kyle Bruckmann-oboe, English horn

Tom Djll-trumpet

Jacob Felix Heule-floor tom

Kanoko Nishi-Smith-koto


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Label: Humbler
Catalog ID: HUMBLER-006
Squidco Product Code: 29687

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded in Berkeley, California, on May 12th, and June 24th, 2018, by Jacob Felix Heule.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Brittle Feebling prickles and bleats, an abrasive delicacy. Fricative rasp and withheld breath seethe together in a discomfiting cuddle. Perfectly respectable instruments born of classicisms both Euro and Nippon are recast, glanced at askance, as the misbegotten miscreants of Imperialisms they (also) are.

This album arises from a most quixotic endeavor: the tenuous, long-term maintenance of a freely improvising collective, comprising unreasonably busy artists, within a scene largely devoted to the peripatetic ad hoc and a culture at large that could hardly care less. Brittle Feebling is the first documentation of this particular quartet subset, although sub-subset precedents include Addleds, whose album Mottle came out in 2013.

The four of us find it terribly lovely, and we hope you might as well."-Humbler


Artist Biographies

"Composer/performer Kyle Bruckmann's work extends from a Western classical foundation into genre-bending gray areas encompassing free jazz, electronic music and post-punk rock. A busy and varied performance schedule and appearances on more than 60 recordings have led to his recognition as "an excellent composer, striking the right balance between form and freedom" (Signal to Noise), "a modern day renaissance musician" (Dusted) and "a seasoned improviser with impressive extended technique and peculiar artistic flair" (All Music Guide).

Shortly after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003, he joined forces with acclaimed new music collective sfSound and with Quinteto Latino (a woodwind quintet specializing in Latin American composers). He is now also a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Eco Ensemble, and Splinter Reeds. He has worked with the San Francisco Symphony and most of the area's regional orchestras remaining active in an international community of improvisers and sound artists. Current local improvising working groups include Addleds, Shudder, and mchtnchts.

From 1996 until his westward relocation, he was a fixture in Chicago's experimental music underground, with frequent collaborators Jason Ajemian, Jim Baker, Jeb Bishop, Olivia Block, Guillermo Gregorio, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Robbie Hunsinger, Bob Marsh, Weasel Walter, and Michael Zerang. Long-term affiliations include the electro-acoustic duo EKG, the "rock" monstrosity Lozenge, and the Creative Music quintet Wrack (recipient of a 2012 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works award).

Bruckmann earned undergraduate degrees in music and psychology at Rice University in Houston, studying oboe with Robert Atherholt, serving as music director of campus radio station KTRU, and achieving academic distinction as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He completed his Masters degree in 1996 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he studied oboe performance with Harry Sargous and contemporary improvisation with Ed Sarath."

-Kyle Bruckmann Website (http://www.kylebruckmann.com/about/biography/)
5/23/2024

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

"Tom Djll studied electronic music with Stephen Scott at the Colorado College, working with the EMS Synthi 100 system at Packard Hall. In 1978 and 79 Djll studied at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY, with Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, George Lewis, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Karl Berger and many other giants of new music. He spent the years 1981-1993 working with the Serge Modular Music System before enrolling in Mills College Contemporary Music Program, where he extended his quest to develop and integrate an idiosyncratic trumpet language into an electronic sound environment, while also pursuing advanced improvisation studies, formally, with Pauline Oliveros, and, informally, with Jack Wright. While at Mills, Djll concentrated on microtonal composition, split-tone trumpet technique, and computer music. He also worked extensively with Chris Brown, resulting in contributions to Brown's recordings LAVA (Tzadik) and DUETS (Artifact).

Further refinement of trumpet languages and free improvisation with his band GROSSE ABFAHRT was undertaken from 1999 - 2010, published on the Emanem, Creative Sources, and Setola di Maiale labels. Beginning in 2012, Djll gradually re-introduced electronics into his sound-set. The results are heard in projects like hackMIDI (extreme electro-mechanical piano music), piano + analog electronics in TENDER BUTTONS (with Tania Chen and Gino Robair), delicate environments in EUPHOTIC (with Cheryl Leonard and Bryan Day), austere acoustic spaces with KOKUO (Kanoko Nishi-Smith, John McCowen, Jacob Felix Heule, and Kyle Bruckmann) and ongoing sessions and performances within the lively and ever-evolving Bay Area scene, including: Tim Perkis, Amanda Chaudhary, Jordan Glenn, Clarke Robinson, Suki O'Kane, Matt Ingalls, Tom Nunn, bran(...)pos, and Karen Stackpole.

Obligatory list of famous musicians Djll has played and/or recorded with:

Roscoe Mitchell, David Toop, Fred Frith, William Winant, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Pauline Oliveros, Ava Mendoza, John Butcher, Vladimir Tarasov, Le Quan Ninh, Tania Chen, Wobbly, Frank Gratkowski, Miya Masaoka, nmperign, Tatsuya Nakatani, Vijay Iyer, and Zeena Parkins."

-Tom Djll Website (http://tomdjll.com/)
5/23/2024

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

"Jacob Felix Heule is a percussionist and electronic musician focused on sound-oriented improvisation following the traditions of electro-acoustic improv, noise, and 20th-century composition. His playing embraces both rough-edged intensity and disciplined instrumental technique."

-Bay Improviser (https://www.bayimproviser.com/EventView.aspx?e=10105)
5/23/2024

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

"Kanoko Nishi-Smith is a pianist/improviser currently active in SF/Bay Area. She teaches Classical piano to children of all ages and levels, with a focus on musicality and individuality while still keeping the important basics of Classical piano training. She herself began piano studies at age three in Japan, concentrating on Classical repertoire until age 18. She then entered BA in Music Performance program at Mills College in Oakland and discovered Free-improvisation, Experimental, electronic, as well as other Contemporary music, all of which drastically broadened her interest. She now primarily performs as an improviser on both piano and her second instrument, koto (Japanese 13-string zither), in solo, as well as in collaborative contexts with various other musicians, dancers, and poets.

Since her graduation from Mills, she has also devoted much of her life to caring for children and adults with developmental disabilities. She is familiar with Applied Behavioral Analysis methods for working with children with Autism, having worked as a Registered Behavior Technician, and currently working on her graduate degree in Early Childhood Special Education. Through working in different areas of the lives of individuals with various personalities and needs, she has developed a strong intuition and versatility in building deep, individualized relationships that she draws from in her teaching practice."

-Kanoko Nishi-Smith Website (https://kanokonishismith.wixsite.com/kanokonishismith/bio)
5/23/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. Milkence 12:49

2. Sustroon 5:32

3. Fraive 7:31

4. Thect 6:54

5. Uumsol 12:30

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
lowercase, reductionist, micro-improv, sound improv, onkyo sound
Collective Free Improvsation
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Quartet Recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
Humbler.


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