The Squid's Ear Magazine


Rempis / Harnik / Zerang: Astragaloi (Aerophonic)

The 3rd release for the trio of Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis, German pianist Elisabeth Harnik and Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang, performing live at the 2020 ArtActs Festival in St Johan Austria for five outstanding improvisations fueled by their previous trio & duo work and flavored with inside piano preparations, hand percussion and superb soloing from all three.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Dave Rempis-alto saxophone, tenor saxophone

Elisabeth Harnik-piano

Michael Zerang-drums, percussion


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UPC: 50601797082943/1/22

Label: Aerophonic
Catalog ID: AR034
Squidco Product Code: 31639

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at ArtActs Festival in Sankt Johan in Tirol, Austria, on March 6th, 2020, by Markus Massinger. A joint release between Aerophonic and Idyllic Noise in Austria.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"This trio didn't know how lucky they had it. They were certainly happy to perform again when this concert was recorded at the ArtActs Festival in St Johan Austria in early March 2020. Although their first outing was back in 2013 in Harnik's hometown of Graz - a live concert broadcast through the Austrian National Radio/ORF, the band has had a sporadic performance history. So the opportunity to reunite for this festival performance was already special. Little did they know what lay ahead though, with a pandemic that was actually breaking out right around them in the Alpine ski areas of Tirol, Austria, an epicenter that would soon be tied to COVID's spread around Europe by international vacationers. This opening night of ArtActs '20 would be one of those last care-free times, when one could sit until the wee hours at the bar with friends, celebrating a night of music-making with laughter and cheer, and with no concern for a shared breath.

Thankfully, these three took advantage of the opportunity to produce a stellar document of their performance. Astragaloi is the third release by this trio formation, after the digital-only Wistfully which came out in 2016 on Aerophonic, and 2020's Triple Tube issued on CD by Not Two. While some of those records have flown under the radar because of the trio's sparse performance schedule, that doesn't diminish the musical simpatico that these three have enjoyed for years. Ever since Harnik's introduction to the Chicago scene at the 2008 Umbrella Music Festival when she was a featured visiting artist, she's actively maintained the relationships she built there, including with Rempis and Zerang. Aside from their work as a trio, all three have worked together in duo contexts since that first meeting.

On Astragaloi, it may be Harnik's wide-ranging abilities that tie things together in such an astounding way. At one moment her preparations inside the piano turn the instrument into a quietly percussive zither, while at another her full-throated insistence at the keyboard draws out the resonance of a full orchestra. Skittering, plucking, pounding, caressing. And while she has the sheer energy to keep up with Rempis' firebreathing tendencies, she also knows how to rein him in to quieter, more abstract spaces that explore breathy nuance and pinpoint texture. Zerang meanwhile displays the singular approach that he's developed on the drum kit, rooted in his Middle Eastern upbringing and the significant abilities as a hand percussionist that he developed early on. That approach frees him as an improviser from so many of the tropes common to "drummers," as he pushes the instrument beyond groove to focus on color, density, articulation, dynamics, and drive, in a way that creates an uncommon unity within the group. There are no specialized duties here, all three of these improvisers roll up their sleeves to keep the narrative momentum moving forward using every tool at their disposal."-Aerophonic


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/)
7/10/2024

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

"Elisabeth Harnik, free-lance composer and pianist, was born 1970 in Graz and lives in Gams (County of Styria/Austria). She studied classical piano and later - with Beat Furrer - composition at what is now the Univer sity of Music and Performing Arts, Graz.

The "repertoire" and it's extensions in composition and improvisation is her central focus. Harnik works within an electro-acoustic inspired sound-world, using unique preparations and extended techniques.

Performances include: Easterfestival Graz 2002, Hörfest Graz 2003/04/05, Styrian Chamber Music Festival 2003, Klangmühle Orth an der Donau 2005, Munich Ope ra Festival 2006, Mozart- Year Vienna 2006, Paul Hofhaimer Musiktage 2006, Composers' Forum Mittersill 2008, Haydn Year 2009, Festival 4020 Linz 2009, Sou ndings Festival London 2010, Opera Graz, Musikprotokoll/Steirischer Herbst 2011, E_MAY Festival Vienna 2011/2012, Klangspuren Schwaz 2012, Transart Festiv al Bozen 2012, Wien Modern 2013, Estonian Harpsichord Society Festival 2014, A udio ArtFestival Pula 2014 a.o.

She has worked with renowned artists and ensembles such as the Ensemble Zeitfluss Graz, the Ensemble 09 Linz, the Ensemble MusikFabri kSüd, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, the Klangforum Vienna, the Ensemb le "die reihe" Vienna, the Ensemble Kontrapunkte Vienna, the ensemble Reconsil Vienna, the Ensemble PHACE Vienna, the Ensemble Platypus Vienna, the Hay dn-Trio-Eisenstadt, the Trio AMOS Vienna, the Trio EIS Vienna, the Thürmchen Ens emble Cologne, the Fidelio Trio London, the Cantus Ensemble Zagreb, the Ensemble mise-en New York and various national and international soloists.

She received a great number of rewards and prizes, most recently she was Artist in Residence at the OMI International Arts Center New York 2010 and Composer in Residence 2013 at the IZZM in Ossiach/Austria. In addition to her work as composer she appears as improvisator at various national and international festivals such as the V:NM-Festival, the Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon, the Nickelsdorfer Konfrontationen, the Artacts Festival St. Johann, the Music Unlimited Festival Wels, the Soundgrube Vienna, the Comprovise Festival Cologne, the Beethoven Fest Bonn, the A L'ARME! Festival Ber lin, the Jazz & More Festival Sibiu, the Alpenglow Festival London, the All Ears Festival Oslo, the Umbrella Music Festival Chicago, the Okka Fest Milwaukee, the Musi cacoustica Beijing, the SoundOut Festival Canberra/AUS a.o."

-Elisabeth Harnik Website (http://elisabeth-harnik.at/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Elisabeth-Harnik_Bio-English.pdf)
7/10/2024

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

"Michael Zerang was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is a first-generation American of Assyrian decent. He has been a professional musician, composer, and producer since 1976, focusing extensively on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, puppet theater, experimental theater, and international musical forms.

Michael has collaborated with contemporary theater, dance, and other multidisciplinary forms and has received three Joseph Jefferson Awards for Original Music Composition in Theater, in collaboration with Redmoon Theater, in 1996, 1998, and 2000.

As a percussionist and composer, Michael has over eighty titles in his discography and has toured nationally and internationally to 34 countries since 1981, and works with and ever-widening pool of collaborators.

Michael founded and was the artistic director of the Link's Hall Performance Series in Chicago from 1985-1989 where he produced over 300 concerts of jazz, traditional ethnic folk music, electronic music, and other forms of forward thinking music. Michael has been a Board Member of Links Hall Since 1989. He continued to produce concerts at Cafe Urbus Orbis from 1994-1996, and at his own space, The Candlestick Maker in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood, from 2001 - 2005.

Michael has taught as a guest artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in performance technique, sound design, and sound/music as it relates to puppetry; rhythmic analysis for dancers at The Dance Center of Columbia College, Northwestern University, and MoMing Dance and Arts Center; courses in Composer/Choreographer Collaborations at Northwestern University; music to children at The Jane Adams Hull House.

Michael currently tours and holds workshops in improvisational music, and teaches private lessons in rhythmic analysis, music composition, and percussion technique.

-Michael Zerang Website (http://www.michaelzerang.com/)
7/10/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. Milkvetch 10:01

2. Macateta 5:13

3. Locoweed 4:21

4. Lafo Litupa 14:48

5. Goat's-thorn 7:37

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Trio Recordings
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