The Squid's Ear Magazine


Cymerman, Jeremiah / Charlie Looker: A Horizon Made of Canvas (Astral Spirits)

A series of ominous duos on the dark side from NY improviser Jeremiah Cymerman on clarinets & pedals, and Charlie Looker (Extra Life, Psalm Zero) on guitars & piano, each of the five pieces exploring murky caverns of warmly bleak environments rendered through Looker's deep piano & guitar work, perforated by cracks of light through Cymerman's riffs & exclamations.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Jeremiah Cymerman-clarinets, pedals

Charlie Looker-guitars, piano


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Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS144CD
Squidco Product Code: 30015

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at BIG EGO Studios, in Long Beach, California, on January 10th, 2020, by Chris Schlarb. Mastered by James Plotkin

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"There is dark and then there is dark. This series of duets from Jeremiah Cymerman and Charlie Looker fall into the latter, more extreme definition. Cymerman, who has a number of releases out on Tzadik and his own 5049 Records label, plays clarinets and pedals. Looker, a former member of Zs who's interests span metal, jazz, classical, and Renaissance music, switches between piano and guitars.

Each of the five tracks on A Horizon Made Of Canvas has slightly different instrumentation, which prevents the album from becoming too familiar over its 45 minutes. For instance, Cymerman plays both clarinet and bass pedals to Looker's piano on The Ecstasy of Betrayal, while Cymerman sticks with clarinet and Looker with acoustic guitar on Speaking of Dust.

While largely improvised, these tracks share a common theme. They are deliberately-paced, thoughtful, and atmospheric. Often sparse in their approach, Cymerman and Looker carve out textures with quiet, brooding lines. Both toy with extended techniques to elicit unconventional sounds from their instruments. There is a modest amount of overdubbing, mostly adding a layer or brief background drone. Perhaps the most overt piece is the shortest, I'll Show You What You Are, which features Looker on slightly-distorted electric guitar and Cymerman taking on an angular and aggressive role. But the majority of the album explores bleak and melancholy emotions, and does so in a beautiful fashion.

Think of it as doom metal played with alternative instrumentation. Well done."-Mike Borella, Avant Music News

Also available on cassette tape with download code

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Get additional information at AMN Reviews

Artist Biographies

"Jeremiah Cymerman (b. 1980) is a New York City based musician and producer working at the intersection of many disparate contemporary musical traditions including improvised, electroacoustic and experimental music. Active since the early 2000s "the protean composer and improviser has made an indelible mark on NYC's DIY avant scene" writes the Brooklyn Observer. His recorded output, with multiple releases on Tzadik and his own 5049 Records, ranging from albums for solo clarinet, creative orchestra, amplified string quartet and acoustic improvisation, has been described by the Wire as "blown out studio creations that merge extended reed techniques with the crushing, airless sonics of black metal." Developing a formidable reputation as a clarinetist "he has an approach that is uniquely his own, a kind of passionate and relentless search for meaningful sound, or sound creation in the broadest sense. His instrument, often electronically supported, is only a tool to achieve this, and paradoxically, by doing so, he also changes the possibilities of his instrument itself." writes Stef Gijssels of the Free Jazz Blog. With concerts in over twenty five countries, collaborators of note have included Evan Parker, Nate Wooley, Toby Driver, Brian Chase, Christopher Hoffman, Charlie Looker, Mario Diaz de Leon and Peter Evans. As an audio engineer, he has recorded and mixed dozens of albums for underground labels such as Tzadik, psi, Clean Feed, Intakt and Important.

In addition to his musical output, since 2013 he has produced the popular 5049 Podcast, a weekly program of long-form conversations with many of contemporary music's most vital and daring artists. The podcast, with new episodes every Monday, has been praised for its ability to present musicians in engaging, honest, unpretentious and often humorous conversations, revealing deep insights into the minds and working methods of those involved. To date he has presented over 200 episodes of long form conversations with artists such as Oren Ambarchi, Susie Ibarra, Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, Craig Taborn, MV Carbon, Trey Spruance, Ken Vandermark and hundreds more."

-5049 Records (http://www.5049records.com/jeremiah-cymerman-1)
6/10/2024

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

"Charles A. Looker has been active in underground music circles for the past decade as a composer, vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist. His music brings together diverse influences and styles including metal, pop, industrial, early music, experimental and classical composition. Born and based in New York City, he has received commissions from various ensembles, however most of his output has been with his own bands.

Looker was a founding member of the now-world-renowned experimental collective ZS, establishing his roots in the early 00s Brooklyn DIY scene. He left ZS in 2007 to form his own band Extra Life which recorded three albums and several EPs, toured the US and Europe extensively and built a devout international following before disbanding in 2012. Since then, Looker's main performing vehicle has been metal/electronic project Psalm Zero. Other ongoing projects include Seaven Teares, a mostly acoustic quartet featuring medieval instruments, and Period, an improvisational trio with drummer Mike Pride and electronic musician Chuck Bettis.

In 2018, Looker released the first record under his own name, Simple Answers, a song cycle for three singers, a 17-piece chamber orchestra, and electronics, on his own limited edition vinyl imprint Last Things Records. This concept album, dealing with fascist psychology, stand-up comedy, and addiction, was performed in its entirety by the full ensemble at National Sawdust (Brooklyn), and was praised by the New York Times, Pitchfork, and NPR.

Looker's credits as a sideman guitarist and/or featured guest vocalist include work with Dirty Projectors, Tyondai Braxton, Mick Barr, Jherek Bischoff, Sam Mickens, the Wordless Music Orchestra, the SEM Ensemble, Dax Riggs, Tim Berne, William Parker, and Glenn Branca. As an arranger, producer, and remixer, Looker has worked with Kate Miller-Heidke, Amanda Palmer, Mivos Quartet, and M Lamar.

As a composer in a classical context, Looker has received fellowships and commissions from the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Yarn/Wire, the Ostrava New Music Days festival, and Experiments in Opera. In 2015, Looker was an artist-in-residence at The Stone (New York City). In 2011 he was voted one of the top 100 American composers under 40 by WNYC. Looker's music has been performed at festivals around the world including Primavera Sound (Spain), Bad Bonn (Switzlerland), Villette Sonique (France), Moers Jazz (Germany) and Sound Forest (Latvia) and is documented on labels including Northern Spy, Profound Lore, Planaria, LOAF, Africantape, Shatter Your Leaves, ThreeOneG, Troubleman Unlimited, and Last Things."

-Charlie Looker Website (http://www.charlielooker.com/charlie-looker-solo)
6/10/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. The Ecstasy Of Betrayal 9:35

2. Speaking Of Dust 10:34

3. I'll Show You What You Are 3:18

4. A Horizon Made Of Canvas 13:05

5. Samson 7:31

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Duo Recordings
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz

Search for other titles on the label:
Astral Spirits.


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