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Pisaro-Liu, Michael

Tombstones (performed by Barbara Dang & Muzzix)

Pisaro-Liu, Michael: Tombstones (performed by Barbara Dang & Muzzix) (elsewhere)

Applying techniques that Michael Pisaro uses in his audio compositions to song formats, this album presents 11 new versions of songs from his 2013 Human Ear Music album, here reworked for clarity and recorded under the artistic direction of the Lille-based pianist Barbara Dang and six members of the Muzzix collective (Bellefont, Cruz, Orins, Pruvost & Pruvost).

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Michael Pisaro-Liu-composer

Barbara Dang-artistic direction, piano, vocals, cymbal

Yoann Bellefont-double bass, synth

Ivann Cruz-guitar, vocals, spoken voice

Raphael Godeau-guitar, whispering

Peter Orins-drums, speaking voice, falling book

Christian Pruvost-trumpet, vocals

Maryline Pruvost-vocals, spoken voice, hand clapping

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Label: elsewhere
Catalog ID: elsewhere 017
Squidco Product Code: 31278

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Theatre Le Colombier (Les Cabannes, 81) in June 2020, by Benjamin Maumus

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Tombstones is a collection of twenty songs composed by American composer Michael Pisaro-Liu between 2006 and 2010, journeying into experimental-pop with pieces that are "experimental or indeterminate but still a song". Eleven of the songs were previously released on vinyl from Human Ear Music in 2012 (and on CD in 2013), with an ensemble of nine musicians including Julia Holter, Lisa Tolentino, Laura Steenberge, Tashi Wada and Cassia Streb.

This disc features the same eleven songs under the artistic direction of the Lille-based pianist Barbara Dang. Dang and six members of the Muzzix collective (Yoann Bellefont, Ivann Cruz, Raphaël Godeau, Peter Orins, Christian Pruvost, Maryline Pruvost) recorded the pieces in June 2020, with Maryline Pruvost as the primary vocalist. While the 2013 Tombstones release on Human Ear Music featured four different singers, and had experimental, impromptu arrangements, this new realization, with one main singer (Maryline Pruvost), is poetically nuanced, ethereal, pop-influenced chamber music."-elsewhere records

"If Michael Pisaro-Liu is known for the integration of silence in his music, notably within the group of Wandelweiser composers, it is remarkable to see to what extent this composer possesses great knowledge of very varied musical genres (classical, metal, harsh noise, rock, rap, etc.) With Tombstones, Pisaro-Liu links writing modes that are specific to his way of composing - such as experimentation and indeterminacy - to the most widespread form of music: the so-called popular song. The singularity of this collection lies in the fact that the eleven titles that make it up are taken from country or blues songs, and in the fact that the instrumentation, the interpretation as well as the duration of certain titles is left undetermined. This allows the performance to be conceived in different ways: a song can be stretched to the extreme to compose an entire concert, the collection can be interpreted in its entirety, and the orchestration and the number of musicians on stage can also vary from one song to another, or even from one performance to another." (Barbara Dang)

"Here we have a recording with a history, one which needs to be told in order to set it in context. "Tombstones" is the collective name of twenty songs composed by Michael Pisaro between 2006 and 2010 (before his marriage to Cherlyn Hsing-Hsin Liu led to his surname change to Pisaro-Liu). In 2012, eleven of those songs were released on a collectable limited-edition LP by the Human Ear Music (HEM) label, followed in 2013 by the same recordings on an HEM CD, both being credited to Pisaro. On that album, recorded in San Francisco, in 2010, the songs were performed by a nine-member ensemble of whom six were credited with vocals or spoken word recitation, Pisaro himself being one of the latter.

At the time of those releases, it was reported that the "Tombstones" songs were inspired by fragments of songs, including some by Lennon, McCartney, Dylan, Jay-Z and Robert Johnson; some commentators referred to Tombstones as Pisaro's pop album, one even drawing a comparison with David Bowie's Pin Ups> (RCA, 1973). Despite such comments, repeated listening to the HEM releases revealed no obvious lyrics or melodic fragments that were attributable to the named sources; Pisaro may have been inspired by them but he had not "borrowed" from them. And, although a Pisaro pop album may have sounded fanciful, "Tombstones" sounded right at home in his canon.

Fast forward to June 2020 at Theatre Le Colombier, a performance space in Les Cabannes, north-west of Albi in southern France, where the Lille-based pianist Barbara Dang and six other members of the Muzzix collective recorded the pieces, with Muzzix member Maryline Pruvost as the main vocalist. Yes, that is correct; Dang & Muzzix recorded exactly the same eleven songs (in exactly the same running order) as were released in 2012, rather than attempting any of the remaining nine. Maybe they decided to leave those nine for a follow-up album? Although playing the same compositions, Muzzix do not copy the HEM versions. In particular, the decision to have just one lead vocalist was a good one as it gives this album a rather more unified feel than its predecessor. Pruvost's voice is pure and true, at times calling to mind those of her fellow Elsewhere labelmates The Giving Shapes. Pruvost's voice is accompanied throughout by Dang's piano, with other instruments and voices being used sparingly as punctuation and coloration; sometimes this leads to pregnant silent pauses-very Wandelweiser. As they are sung (or, in some cases, most notably "I didn't say anything," recited) these compositions qualify as songs, but they have none of the hallmarks of pop songs-verses, choruses, middle-eights et cetera... Having accepted that, as a whole this album makes compellingly beautiful listening in its own right.

Pisaro-Liu afficionados will find plenty here to satisfy their addiction. Curious newcomers can begin here, knowing that it will probably make them addicts too. On this evidence, all will hope that Dang & Muzzix get around to tackling the remaining nine "Tombstones" sometime soon."-John Eyles, All About Jazz

Get additional information at All About Jazz

Artist Biographies

"Barbara Dang: Piano

Pianist of classical training and jazz, aesthetics from which she turned away, the sound universe of Barbara Dang goes from experimental music written to improvised music. She worked with Olivier Benoit and Jérémie Ternoy then met other musicians and composers such as Sophie Agnel, Didier Aschour, Michel Doneda, Daunik Lazro, Radu Malfatti, Michael Pisaro ... She developed a solo piano repertoire (John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, Henry Cowell, Morton Feldman, Tom Johnson, Federico Mompou, Erik Satie ...) which brings into play unusual techniques (prepared, amplified piano, indoor playing) where pure musical action is privileged compared to an individualized aesthetic expression.

Within small groups or large ensembles (La Pieuvre, Le Grand Orchester de Muzzix, Dedalus), she explores other instruments such as amplified objects, electronics, organ or spruce.

Since March 2015, she has worked for Revue & Corrigée: a benchmark review of experimental sound practices."-© Pidz (translated by Google)

-Muzzix (

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"Ivann Cruz : electric guitar

He studied classical guitar and specializes in Jazz and improvise music. He is in possession of a musical degree of Jazz in guitar at the Musical Conservatoty of Lille then a master's degree in musical composition and a master of esthetic and practise of Arts at the University of Lille 3.

He puts a lot of efforts into doing performance, composition and experimentation in solo or through ensembles as electric as numerous : La Pieuvre, Electric Cue, Ventilo, Duo Cruz/Lenglet, One DPI, Feldspath, L'OGR, Arsis, Trio Ternoy/Cruz/Orins.In 2010 he takes part to the Jazzplayeurope (six musicians from six different countries and to an European tour including seven concerts in different european town.

During his training and his activity as a guitar player he meets: Ars Nova Ensemble, Olivier Benoit, Jean-Francois Canape, Mederic Colignon, Laurent Cugny, Philippe Deschepper, Dgiz, Marc Ducret, Guy Gilbert, Michel Godart, Jean-Luc Hervé, Didier Levallet, Thierry Madiot, Ricardo Mandolini, Gérard Marais, Jean Marc Montera, Edward Perraud, Yves Torchinsky, Fred Van Hove...

At the Theatre he works with Interlude T/O, Cendres la Rouge, Thierry Roisin and Bandine Savetier.

His works of creation is characterized by a research on the confrontation between the improvised gesture and the interchangeability of music writing."

-TOC Music (

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"Born in 1977 the day before the creation of Tellur *, I readily see in this work that I like playing a sound "tender card" of my own musical affinities, passing and repassing through the same places: the moments of sound construction in to start from a classical gesture would be those of a practice mixing oral and writing; the moments of metallic explosions more scattered those of the exploration, discontinuous but passionate, of the deepest styles of flamenco; the sudden drops or increases in dynamic tension, those of the impulses towards all kinds of electrifying music; and the spaces of silences or resonances, all those "white" moments where the technique hibernates in an ear if possible inventive.

These various musical affinities correspond to contrasting work experiences, around written repertoires or certain oral music: in institutional settings - the CNSM de Paris as a student **, then today the Conservatoire de Lille as a guitar teacher - in associative circles, in particular on a fairly regular basis with the Muzzix collective, or in research with underground resonances mixing various types of writing."

-Raphael Godeau Website (Translated by Google) (

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"After classical music study, Peter Orins learns the drums, first in a rock and afro-cuban music school, then at the Conservatoire National de Région of Lille in the jazz section, where he studies with Guy Gilbert, Jean-François Canape, Gérard Marais... He graduates in 1997. In the meantime, he studies musicology at university, improvisation with Fred Van Hove, composition with Jean-Marc Chouvel and Ricardo Mandolini.

Playing jazz from the middle of the 90's, he plays in the bands that will create in 2000 the Circum collective : Impression (for which he composes, became Flu(o) in 2012), Quartet Base, Stefan Orins Trio. He coordinates the Circum collective till its fusion with the CRIME in 2010, and creates the Circum Grand Orchestra, band with the 10 musicians of Circum, for which he composes also occasionally. At the same time Peter Orins get in the CRIME projects, improvised and experimental music collective also based at la malterie in Lille. He plays especially in La Pieuvre, big improvisation orchestra conducted by Olivier Benoit (nowadays Artistic Director of L'Orchestre National de Jazz). It's with the Crime that he'll develop his solo work (drums and electronic with Pure Data application), and improvised and experimental projects with David Bausseron, Laurent Rigaut, Ivann Cruz, Christian Pruvost, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Benjamin Duboc, Yanik Miossec, Falter Bramnk, ... in bands like DBPO, De Nouvelles Erreurs, Signal Box, Electropus, Ternoy/Cruz/Orins (that will become Toc, free-rock progressive band)... In 2006, he leads a french-vietnamese project called Hué/Circum with the support of Region Nord Pas de Calais, which combines 4 musicians from Circum and 3 traditional vietnamese musicians from Hué (tour in Vietnam, Japan and France, from 2006 to 2009). In 2010, he creates a french-japanese quartet with pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpet players Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost, band for which he composes with Satoko Fujii. Several international tours with this band (Japan, Israel, Germany, France, USA, Canada). In 2011, Ivann Cruz, guitar player from Muzzix, and Maciej Garbowski, polish double-bass player, invite him to play in their quartet with the finnish saxophone player Kari Heinila. He also collaborates with theatre, composes for cinema or animation movies, dance... Since the creation of Muzzix in 2010, Peter Orins coordinates the artistic direction of the collective.

He played with : Sophie Agnel, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Benjamin Duboc, Radu Malfati, Steve Dalachinsky, Andrew D'Angelo, Petr Cancura, Josh Sinton, Curtis Hasselbring, Joe Morris, Rene Hart, David Miller, Frank London, Nate Wooley, Renee Baker, Ernest Dawkins, Dave Rempis, Jeb Bishop, Michael Zerang, Jacques Di Donato, François Corneloup, Norbert Lucarain, Sylvain Kassap, Alain Vankenhove, Camel Zekri, ..."

-Peter Orins Website (

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"Christian Pruvost plays in Circum Grand Orchestra, Feldspath, La Pieuvre, Flu(o) / Impression, Kaze, Christian Pruvost, Pruvost / Mahieux, Signal Box, Quartet Base, Ziph, Wabla, Moondog Madrigals, PCM Bla∫t, Intento, Le Grand Orchestre de MuzzixGenerous, insatiable and prolific musician, Christian Pruvost multiplies the cooperations for several years, whether it is in jazz, improvised music or live performing arts.Solo, (" Ipteravox " released in 2010 on Helix / Circum-Disc), he explores the spectrum of the trumpet, from the softest blowing to the strongest bursts. Playing all acoustic, he develops his repertoire very serenely, and adds some objects that bring him a wealth of extra tones. His inventiveness and the originality of his approach has taken him to perform solo in Brest, Montreuil, Paris, Besançon, Tours, Nantes, Montpellier, Amsterdam and Australia (Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane), invited by pianist Anthony Pateras.With Didier Aschour, he is a co-director of " Round the World of Sound ", creation gathering 14 musicians from the Muzzix collective and Dedalus ensemble in a work on Moondog's madrigals. He can be seen alongside Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura and Peter Orins in the spectacular franco-japanese quartet Kaze (2 albums and several tours in Japan, Israel, and in the USA/Canada since 2011, and a Japanese tour in preparation for september 2014).In a new project called PCM Bla∫t, Christian Pruvost surrounds himself with Maxime Morel (tuba) and Samuel Carpentier (trombone). Together they explore many repertoires - from medieval music to the composers of the XXIst century - but also improvised forms ; altogether in a theatrical and experimental approach. He is also a member of Circum Grand Orchestra, which releases its third album composed by Christophe Hache in 2014, and la Pieuvre, the improvisation orchestra conducted by Olivier Benoit.Blowing masseur in Ziph (collective of individual balloon-membrane horns and creator of the concept of sound massages), he also takes part in the Wabla project with Thierry Madiot, Yanik Miossec and David Bausseron. He can be seen in duo with bass player Nicolas Mahieux, in Flu(o), Arsis quartet, in the orchestra of Zoone Libre collective Vazytouille and in two shows carried by la Cie Générale d'Imaginaire [dukõne] and [ nu ].Collaborations with Axel Dörner, Olivier Benoit, Jérémie Ternoy, Nicolas Mahieux, Otomo Yoshihide, Mina Small, Sean Baxter, Benoît Delbecq, Alain Gibert, Carole Rieussec, Roger Cochini, Sophia Domancich, Giovanna Marini, Didier Levallet, Lucia Recio, Li Ping Ting, Patricia Kuypers, Thierry Madiot, Sophie Agnel, Satoko Fuji, Natsuki Tamura, Jérôme Noetinger, Benjamin Duboc, Didier Lasserre, Makoto Sato, Lionel Marchetti, Cor Fuhler, John Edwards, Tony Buck, Daunik Lazro..."-Muzzix (

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Maryline Pruvost is a flute player and vocalist, a member of Vazytouille, and the ensemble Muzzix.

-Discogs (

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Track Listing:

1. Blues Fall 6:48

2. Fool 2:47

3. New Orleans 5:03

4. I Didn't Say Anything 3:46

5. Silent Cloud 6:09

6. Tombstone 2:39

7. A Stranger 3:08

8. Unmoon 3:36

9. Stop 2:50

10. A Better Way Of Life 14:03

11. Why 0:07

Related Categories of Interest:

European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Sextet Recordings
Unusual Vocal Forms
Song Based Music
New in Compositional Music
New in Experimental & Electronic Music

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