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Ewen, Sandy / Keith Rowe / Damon Smith + Gooseberry Marmalade: Houston 2012 [2 CDs] (Balance Point Acoustics)

During a two-day encounter in Houston in 2012, visiting improviser & guitarist Keith Rowe and double bassist Damon Smith combined with guitarist Sandy Ewen, on day 1 joining with her all-female experimental music ensemble Lady Band (of Various Fruit Names) to perform works from the 70s London ensemble Scratch Orchestra; on day 2 recording two uniquely creative improvsations as a trio.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Keith Rowe-guitar, radio

Sandy Ewen-guitar

Damon Smith-double bass, field recordings

Gooseberry Mamalade-ensemble

Rebecca Novak-performer

Megan Easley-performer

Rachel Orosco-performer

Carol Ann Sandin-performer

Sam Rowell-performer

Jenny Hoyston-performer

Mars Varela-performer

Erin Joyce-performer

Regina Agu-performer


Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.




Label: Balance Point Acoustics
Catalog ID: BPA 2CD2
Squidco Product Code: 30976

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
CD 1 recorded at 14 Pews, in Houston, Texas, on October 11th, 2012, by Ryan Edwards.

CD 2 recorded at KUHF, in Houston, Texas, on October 12th, 2012, by Ryan Edwards.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Lady Band (of Various Fruit Names) is an all-female experimental music ensemble founded by Sandy Ewen in 2009. Performances are singular, often site-specific events, featuring a rotating lineup (and different fruit-themed name for each show), with members contributing graphic and text-based scores for structured improvisation.

Drawing parallels between Ewen's group and Scratch Orchestra, the 1960s-70s London experimental music ensemble Rowe was involved in, Smith hatched a plan for Rowe to collaborate with the group on a concert of Scratch Orchestra scores in 2012: "During a previous trip of Keith's to Houston, we were at the Alabama IceHouse and talking about Fluxus, the (Ben) Patterson was up or had been up (at CAMH), and (Keith) talked about Scratch Orchestra. So I made the connection to have him do those pieces with Sandy's group when he wanted to play with Sandy and me."

Gooseberry Marmalade was up for the task. Meeting over tea the night before the show, Rowe's quiet intensity opened an infinite world of possibilities for staging the works. Seven scores were chosen to be performed as an uninterrupted suite, some of the titles bearing code names devised for inclusion in Nature Study Notes, a compendium of scores and "Draft Constitution of the Scratch Orchestra" published in 1969. Also chosen were Christian Wolff's Stones and p. 80 from Cardew's Treatise - realized here as a chorus line of pantomimed gestures and pedestrian movements, heard only on the audio recording as an extended silence punctuated with the padding of footsteps across the polished wooden floorboards of 14 Pews, the converted chapel/cinema/performance space where Ewen and Smith were in residency.

Moments of physical- visual-experiential magic abounded. Marilyn, Cressandra Thibodeaux's then 80-year old mother and bartender of 14 Pews, handed each performer a flower to begin CFIRNTFM145 - Flowers. Chewing on a rose, thorns and all, Regina Agu languidly paced the aisles while carnations were sung to, bits of poetic verse drifted into consciousness and petals were strewn about the stage. The performance ended with Desire, its thought-provoking text echoing in our minds intently as recited by Rowe the night before:

"Want to do something; Do it.
Do something without wanting to.
Do something wanting not to.
Be done to.
Be done."

"-Rebecca Novak

"The double album Houston 2012 captures a two-day encounter in October 2012 between English tabletop guitarist Keith Rowe and the experimental-music community of Houston, Texas. Rowe's visit came about thanks to the initiative of Saint Louis double bassist Damon Smith, who lived in Texas at the time. While there Smith developed a strong working relationship with Sandy Ewen, who's not only a splendid, unconventional guitarist but also an organizer committed to facilitating women's access to the arts. In 2009 she established Lady Band (of Various Fruit Names), an all-female experimental ensemble whose political roots and widely varying experience levels bear similarities to the mixture of trained and amateur participants in the egalitarian-minded Scratch Orchestra, an experimental-music ensemble Rowe had played in 40-odd years earlier.

The album's first disc documents that convergence. First Rowe, Ewen, and Smith improvised a thrilling set of negotiations among Rowe's finely abraded textures, Ewen's more eruptive attack, and Smith's groaning drones. Then a ten-strong Lady Band, using the name Gooseberry Marmalade, played a series of Scratch Orchestra scores that they'd workshopped with Rowe. Their performances reconcile rigor and playfulness, sounding by turns like a brawl in a metalworking shop, a convention of stocking-footed mimes, and a straight-up dance party. The second disc is just the trio, recorded when they reunited in the studio the next day. The resulting improvisations are much more austere than their first, reducing each musician's signature sound to elemental expressions of electricity and friction enacted upon a vast field of sonic emptiness."-Bill Meyer, The Chicago Reader



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Get additional information at The Chicago Reader

Artist Biographies

"tabletop guitarist and painter. Rowe is a founding member of both the influential AMM in the mid-1960s (though in 2004 he quit that group for the second time) and M.I.M.E.O. Having trained as a visual artist, Rowe's paintings have been featured on most of his own albums. After years of obscurity, Rowe has achieved a level of relative notoriety, and since the late 1990s has kept up a busy recording and touring schedule. He is seen as a godfather of EAI (electroacoustic improvisation), with many of his recent recordings having been released by Erstwhile Records.

Rowe began his career playing jazz in the early 1960s-notably with Mike Westbrook and Lou Gare. His early influences were guitarists like Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian and Barney Kessel. Eventually, however, Rowe grew tired of what he considered the form's limitations. Rowe began experimenting, slowly and gradually. An important step was a New Year's resolution to stop tuning his guitar-much to Westbrook's displeasure. Rowe gradually expanded into free jazz and free improvisation, eventually abandoning conventional guitar technique.

This change in his approach to guitar, Rowe reports, was partly inspired by a teacher in one of his painting courses who told him, "Rowe, you cannot paint a Caravaggio. Only Caravaggio can paint Caravaggio." Rowe reports that after considering this idea from a musical perspective, "trying to play guitar like Jim Hall seemed quite wrong." For several years Rowe contemplated how to reinvent his approach to the guitar, again finding inspiration in visual art, namely, American painter Jackson Pollock, who abandoned traditional painting methods to forge his own style. "How could I abandon the technique? Lay the guitar flat!"

Rowe developed various prepared guitar techniques: placing the guitar flat on a table and manipulating the strings, body and pick-ups in unorthodox ways to produce sounds described as dark, brooding, compelling, expansive and alien. He has been known to employ objects such as a library card, rubber eraser, springs, hand-held electric fans, alligator clips, and common office supplies in playing the guitar. A January 1997 feature in Guitar Player magazine described a Rowe performance as "resemble a surgeon operating on a patient." Rowe sometimes incorporates live radio broadcasts into his performances, including shortwave radio and number stations (the guitar's pick-ups will also pick up radio signals, and broadcast them through the amplifier).

AMM percussionist Eddie Prévost reports that Rowe has "an uncanny touch on the wireless switch", able to find radio broadcasts which seem to blend ideally with, or offer startling commentary on, the music. (Prévost, 18). On AMMMusic, towards the end of the cacophonous "Ailantus Glandolusa", a speaker announces via radio that "We cannot preserve the normal music." Prevost writes that during an AMM performance in Istanbul, Rowe located and integrated a radio broadcast of "the pious intonation of a male Turkish voice. AMM of course, had absolutely no idea what the material was. Later, it was complimented upon the judicious way that verses from The Koran had been introduced into the performance, and the respectful way they had been treated!" In reviewing World Turned Upside Down, critic Dan Hill writes, "Rowe has tuned his shortwave radio to some dramatically exotic gameshow and human voices spatter the mix, though at such low volume, they're unintelligible and abstracted. Rowe never overplays this device, a clear temptation with such a seductive technology - the awesome possibility of sonically reaching out across a world of voices requires experienced hands to avoid simple but ultimately short-term pleasure. This he does masterfully, mixing in random operatics and chance encounters with talkshow hosts to anchor the sound in humanity, amidst the abstraction." "

Some accounts report that Rowe's guitar technique was an influence on Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett: "Taking his cues from experimental guitarist Keith Rowe of AMM, Barrett strived to push his music farther and farther out into the zone of complete abstraction."

Rowe has worked together with numerous composers and musicians, including Cornelius Cardew, Christian Wolff, Howard Skempton, Jeffrey Morgan, John Tilbury, Evan Parker, Taku Sugimoto, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Oren Ambarchi, Christian Fennesz, Burkhard Beins, Kurt Liedwart, Toshimaru Nakamura, David Sylvian and Peter Rehberg.

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Rowe)
5/23/2024

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

"Sandy Ewen was born in Toronto, Canada in 1985, Sandy Ewen received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Since then she has resided in Houston, TX where she pursues musical and visual projects and her architecture license. Ewen has released several albums, including a duo with guitarist Tom Carter, a trio with bassist Damon Smith & drummer Weasel Walter, and a rock album with Austin's Weird Weeds. Ewen's visual work is closely tied to her work in sound; she uses both mediums to explore texture, composition and materials.

Ewen's microcollages, enlarged through projection and digital printing, are an exploration of material and technique. Using a unique process pioneered by the artist, natural materials and polymers are torn, liquefied, scorched, melted, cut, and fused. When enlarged, the microscopic nuances of these manipulations are manifested in exquisite detail. Ewen has presented prints of her work at 14 Pews (2012), Spacetaker/Fresh Arts (2012), Khon's (2013) & Galeria Regina (2014).

As an improviser in both art and music, Ewen sees herself as guiding materials and space rather than executing a preconceived composition. "I like to explore mediums and materials and tease out their essence," says Ewen. "Working with slide projections has focused my eye on the subtitles of natural processes of decay and transformation. Through my work, I am asking questions of the materials rather than dictating answers." "

-Sandy Ewen Website (http://www.sandyewen.com/about/)
5/23/2024

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

"Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and has had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. Damon's explorations into the sonic palette of the double bass have resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant-garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Visual art, film and dance heavily influence his music, as evidenced by his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson's Variations for Double Bass, collaborations with director Werner Herzog on soundtracks for Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Damon has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including: Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra's Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Pisaro, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and five great years in Houston, Texas working regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn, Damon will move to the Boston area in the fall of 2016. Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and European musicians."

-Balance Point Acoustic Website (https://www.balancepointacoustics.com/damon-smith/)
5/23/2024

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

"As an improviser, Rebecca Novak explores sound with a constellation of instruments and objects including cornet, Autoharp, melodica, glass vases, shortwave radio, and piano. She has written text-based scores for performances that combine live projected writing, improvised music, and visual material.

She has performed and presented her work at No Idea Festival (Austin, Texas), Museo Rufino Tamayo (Mexico City), Atlantic Center for the Arts, ghost (Santa Fe, New Mexico), DiverseWorks Houston, Daughter of Lady Friends Experimental Music Salon, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Project Row Houses, and MECA Houston. She has recorded and performed as part of Annotation trio with Gabriel Martinez (percussion) and poet-guitarist Ronnie Yates; Garden medium with Sandy Ewen (guitar) and Carol Sandin Cooley (vocals and electronics); and in the duo Pilot with electronic/tape musician Steve Jansen.

This collaborative performance with Ruth Langston, Gabriel Martinez, Rachel Orosco, and Ronnie Yates combines the scores, ideas, writings and improvised sound of all of the performers."

-Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (https://camh.org/event/performance-texas-noise-ambience-2/)
5/23/2024

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


Track Listing:



CD1



1. Scratch Overture 31:36

2. Gooseberry Marmalade - Plays Scratch Orchestra 42:42

CD2



1. There Guide The Spindle, And Direct The Loom 45:24

2. Where The Juncture Knits The Channel Bone 18:38

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Jazz
Electro-Acoustic
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Large Ensembles
Trio Recordings
Keith Rowe

Search for other titles on the label:
Balance Point Acoustics.


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