The Squid's Ear Magazine

Pavone, Jessica: Clamor [VINYL] (Out Of Your Head Records)

With a septet of women improvisers and contemporary performers, composer and violinist Jessica Pavone's long-form collective improv compositions are titled after innovations made by women throughout history to circumvent obstructions to their freedoms, revealed through string and bassoon orchestration that balances harmony, dissonance, drone and disruptive experimentation.

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Jessica Pavone-composer

Katherine Young-bassoon

Aimee Niemann-violin

Charlotte Munn Wood-violin

Abby Swidler-viola

Mariel Roberts-cello

Shayna Dulberger-double bass

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Limited edition of 500 copies, 12" black vinyl LP featuring artwork + design by TJ Huff ( The LP also includes an 11 x 11" full color insert with additional program notes + artwork.

Label: Out Of Your Head Records
Catalog ID: OOYH 023LP
Squidco Product Code: 34072

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at EastSide Sound in Manhattan, New York, in 2023 by Marc Urselli.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Clamor rethinks the notion of 'women's work' as a space for both collaboration and singular voice. Just as our ensemble is limited and enabled by the written score, so might be individual enunciations of how gender norms limit agency. Clamor utilizes a collective, improvisational vision that prioritizes an intentionally fluid style by employing indeterminacy, navigated by the performers via time-based scores. These principles are balanced with metered notation to shape the overall form of the pieces, reflecting circumventing obstructions to one's freedoms. The alternating music notation styles mirror these restraints and solutions. Through the open spaces, the musicians re-create the compositions together each time they perform, establishing a collaborative relationship between the individual musician and larger group performance.

Clamor's movements are titled after innovations made by women throughout history to circumvent obstructions to their freedoms. "Neolttwigi" utilizes rhythms representing the 17th-century Korean standing seesaw invented by women who could not freely go outdoors to provide a glimpse of the scenery beyond their property walls. Nu Shu honors the secret language created and used exclusively by Chinese women forbidden to go to school like their brothers. Nu Shu features the improvising soloist in dialogue with the ensemble.

"Bloom" is named after bloomers, which Amelia Bloom designed during the 1850s Victorian dress reform.

"Nu Shu" features bassoon soloist, Katherine Young, attending to her talent for improvising within a collaborative context. Young is a composer and sound artist who has developed a unique language for bassoon. The movements to feature her have built-in moments of gently structured spontaneity that attend to her original voice."-Out Of Your Head Records

"Intrepid composer and violist Jessica Pavone continues to forge an intensely personalized path with Clamor, the latest addition to this fascinating creator's discography. As if consciously designed to frustrate pigeonholers, the new release carves out a distinctive genre space that pulls from multiple areas without settling into any one in particular. Elements of free jazz, avant-classical, and even perhaps punk are part of the album's heady mix, which for the sake of simplicity might simply be labeled avant chamber music. As has been suggested elsewhere, the music Pavone makes might be mentioned in the same breath as that associated with Tony Conrad, Henry Flynt, and LaMonte Young, if only for providing some hint of its character. Certainly the raw, visceral bluster generated by Pavone and company feels far removed from the conservatory-trained finesse of a conventional classical ensemble.

Pavone's sensibility extends to the instrumentation of her latest string outfit, a sextet comprising two violins (Aimée Niemann, Charlote Munn-Wood), two violas (Abby Swidler, Pavone), cello (Mariel Roberts), and double bass (Shayna Dulberger). Those familiar with her work won't be surprised by the presence of bassoonist Katherine Young as a soloist on two of the four tracks. As articulated by Pavone, a very lucid methodology guides the players. Meditating on the notions of 'women's work' as a vehicle for both individual and collective expression and the way that "gender norms limit agency," Clamor couples indeterminacy with time-based scores and notation. Such aspects bring an overall form to the pieces, and consequently improv-driven expression must be reconciled with the structures in play. Even so, the openness of the design allows each performance to be unique. The ones here, then, captured by Marc Urselli at EastSide Sound in Manhattan in 2023, document but one iteration of an unlimited number.

In keeping with the album concept, the work's four movements are titled after strategies adopted by women throughout history to circumvent obstacles implemented to curtail their freedoms. "Neolttwigi," for example, refers to a seesaw created by seventeenth-century Korean women that enabled them to glimpse the world beyond their property walls when not allowed to freely roam outdoors. "Nu Shu" likewise has to do with oppression in referring to a secret language created and shared by Chinese women who were not allowed to attend school as their brothers did.

Arresting harmonic combinations and note clusters tickle the ear throughout, the players in no way hesitant to blur the lines separating consonance and dissonance. Up first, "Neolttwigi" builds on the historical reference by applying a seesaw-like approach to its lumbering rhythms and emphatic melodic figures. Tension mounts in the use of glissandos that alter the harmonic relationships between instruments, though the material eventually reaches a state of ecstatic resolution at its end. Young's at the forefront of the two-part "Nu Shu," her foghorn-like, no-holds-barred improvisations adding a blistering extra dimension to the keening strings-based performances. Each of the album's tracks advances through multiple episodes, and the first part of this one's no different, moving as it does from a wild unaccompanied bassoon solo through a plaintive string section and then agitated noise rustlings of alien character. With the bassoon wailing at an extremely high register, Pavone solos savagely during the work's second part before the music enters a freeform exploration that feels, in part, as if it's venturing underwater. Like a gospel hymn emanating from some nineteenth-century country chapel, "Bloom" slowly blossoms from a delicate intro to a full-group drone meditation spiked by razor-sharp harmonics until it comes to rest amidst gentle flutterings. In this movement and in the three before, it's impossible to know what direction Pavone's music will take, which is, when all's said and done, one of the best things about it. Predictable is definitely not a word one could use to describe the work she's doing."-Textura

Available as a Compact Disc.
Limited edition of 500 copies, 12" black vinyl LP featuring artwork + design by TJ Huff ( The LP also includes an 11 x 11" full color insert with additional program notes + artwork.

Artist Biographies

"Jessica Pavone (composer, viola, violin, el.bass) has performed in countless improvisation, avant jazz, experimental, folk, soul, and chamber ensembles since moving to NYC in 2000. She currently plays with Normal Love, in a duo with guitarist Mary Halvorson, with Anthony Braxton's ensembles and as a solo violist. As a composer, The Wire magazine praised her "ability to transform a naked tonal gesture into something special," and The New York Times described her music as "distinct and beguiling...its core is steely, and its execution clear."

Pavone's recent works for solo viola and voice stem from years of concentrated long tone practice and an interest in repetition, song form, and sympathetic vibration. She combines her long tone rituals with delay, understated melodies and sparse lyrical content while continuously experimenting with new forms. She is interested in the physicality of performing her somewhat larger-than-comfortable instrument and believes that cultivating physical bodies as a strong container for her thoughts is part of the creative process.

As an instrumentalist, she has personally worked with and interpreted new music by; Aaron Seigel, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Elliott Sharp, Glenn Branca, Henry Threadgill, Leo Smith, Jason Ajemian, Jason Cady, Jeremiah Cymerman, John King, Matana Roberts, Matthew Welch, Tristan Perich, Tyondai Braxton and William Parker; and, has played strings in bands such as Christy and Emily, Pure Horsehair, White Blue Yellow and Clouds, Joy Mega, and The Artificials.

Pavone has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, performing in venues ranging from international music festivals, universities, and art galleries, to community centers and basements. Her music has premiered in venues in New York City such as, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and The Kitchen, and at the Klangbad Festival in Sheer, Germany. In 2011 she was featured in NPR's "The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40." She has received grants and commissions from the Aaron Copland Recording Fund, the American Music Center, New Music USA for her collaboration with choreographer, Anna Sperber, The Kitchen, MATA, The Jerome Foundation, The Tri-Centric Foundation, Experiments in Opera, and the chamber music collective, Till By Turning."

-Jessica Pavone Website (

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

"The curious timbres, expressive noises, and kinetic structures of my electroacoustic music explore the dramatic physicality of sound, shifting interpersonal dynamics, and associations with the familiar and the strange. The LAPhil's Green Umbrella series, Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW, Ensemble Dal Niente, Third Coast Percussion, Spektral Quartet, Weston Olencki, Nico Couck / Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Fonema Consort, and others have commissioned my music. I'm excited about coming-soon (and soon-to-be recent) projects with Lucy Dehgrae for Resonant Bodies Festival, WasteLAnd and RAGE, Distractfold Ensemble's Linda Jankowska, Callithumpian Ensemble, and Yarn/Wire. I'm releasing new music this year with Michael Foster & Michael Zerang, Wet Ink, and Amy Cimini (as Architeuthis Walks on Land).

As a bassoonist and improviser, I amplify my instrument and employ a flexible electronics setup. My debut solo album garnered praise in The Wire ("Bassoon colossus") and Downbeat ("seriously bold leaps for the bassoon"). Collaboration is central to my practice, and I perform regularly as a soloist, in ad hoc improvised groups, and with my long-standing ensembles Pretty Monsters, Architeuthis Walks on Land, and Till by Turning."

-Katherine Young Website (

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"Aimée Niemann is a performer, improviser, and educator.

An explorer of new sounds, Aimée is the founding member of Du.0, a New York City-based violin duo that specializes in experimental contemporary and noise-based improvised music. Formed in 2015 by Aimée Niemann and Charlotte Munn-Wood, the ensemble "[shines] in moments of deep listening"(I Care If You Listen) The duo premiered two new works by composers Leah Asher and Scott Wollschleger in the winter or 2020.

Alongside Serbian violinist Marija Kovacevic, Aimée released a new four part record with BUKA spanning the seasons pre and post pandemic.

As an improviser with a background in dance, Niemann investigates sound through its direct correlation to movement. Aimée works often with dancers and in theaters and composes graphic scores that are used as structures for interdisciplinary invention and the unearthing of new sounds.

Niemann has collaborated with composers Aleksandra Vrebalov, Anthony Coleman, Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff, Emily Praetorious, Lucia Vitkova, Jessica Pavone, and Paul Elwood. She has co-created installations with Argentinean artist Cecila Biagini and co-produced several pieces with choreographers Nadia Khayrallah, Whitney Janis and Ichi Go. She has toured internationally and performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, National Sawdust, (Le) Poisson Rouge, and Roulette Intermedium.

A passionate teaching artist, they teach violin at Third Street Music School Settlement and have a vibrant private violin studio.

Niemann received a B.M. in Violin Performance from the University of Northern Colorado and a M.M. in Violin Performance from New York University. Originally from the prairies of Colorado, they currently live in Queens, New York."

-Aimee Niemann Website (

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"An outspoken proponent of experimental sounds and expression, violinist Charlotte Munn-Wood is an improviser, chamber musician, and sought-after educator in New York City and beyond. Her music and visual art explore the textures and timbres of the natural world and of inner psychological environments.

Munn-Wood is a founding member of Du.0 (du-point-oh), a two-violin ensemble specializing in experimental contemporary and noise-based improvised music. Formed with Aimée Niemann in 2015, the duo has forged a path of innovative, inclusive programming in non-traditional venues. The ensemble will release its debut studio album, 3 to 7 Sounds, in summer 2023. Munn-Wood is a founding member of Telos Consort, a group of creatives seeking to reimagine the concert experience through the performance of new and newer works by living composers. She is also a founding member of the Intimate Artistry String Quartet, led by composer Sarah Lydia Anne Banks, whose improvisation is guided by the principle of creative sonic embodiment.

Munn-Wood is passionate about collaborating with new voices in experimental music. She appears in the J. Pavone Ensemble on composer-violist Jessica Pavone's album Lull (Chaikin Records), and with guitarist Tim Motzer on their duo album Warp/Weft (4k Recordings). Other collaborators include pianist Melinda Faylor, soprano Stephanie Lamprea, saxophonist Thomas Giles, and guitarist-composer Cole Blouin. She is an avid performer of new works, having commissioned and premiered works by Leah Asher, Alex Burtzos, Paul Elwood, Joshua Mastel, Zae Munn, Emily Praetorius, Sid Richardson, Scott Wollschleger, and Icli Zitella, among others.

As an active freelancer in the NYC metro area, Munn-Wood performs regularly with orchestras including the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, New England Symphonic Ensemble, Garden State Philharmonic, Manhattan Symphonie, the Curiosity Cabinet, and Richmond County Orchestra. She has appeared internationally in diverse venues, from the Weill Recital Hall and Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall to Roulette Intermedium, the Dimenna Center, National Sawdust, and the BAM Center. Abroad, she has toured Beijing, Tianjin, and Handan with composer Mojiao Wang's opera Encounter for the Beijing Modern Music Festival. However, her true love is for performing in unusual settings and in out-of-the-way places, expanding the reach of experimental performance to audiences everywhere.

Sought after as a private teacher, Munn-Wood maintains private studios in Manhattan and Westchester County. She recently entered her sixth year on faculty at the Larchmont Music Academy, bringing her inquiry-based teaching approach to children and adults alike. Munn-Wood is a graduate of the Contemporary Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Dr. Curtis Macomber, and of Western Michigan University as a student of Renata Knific. Away from the violin, she is an avid runner, rock climber, and prolific fiber artist."

-Charlotte Munn Wood Website (

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

"Abby Swidler is a composer, violinist, violist, and vocalist whose work appears in many contexts including new music, improvisational music, and song.

Abby is a passionate collaborator, frequently performing with ruby, a song collaboration with Kim Mayo; Xanthoria Quartet a string quartet which performs new and old works ; Italian film-score band, Tredici Bacci; The Jessica Pavone String Ensemble; and the NYC chamber orchestra, Shattered Glass; among other projects across genre lines.

As a composer and performer, Abby has collaborated with dance, film, theater, and performing ensembles; working with artists like Lady Lamb, Carla Kihlstedt, Mirah, Kishi Bashi, Jherek Bischoff, Angel Olsen, Anthony Coleman, Bent Knee, The California Guitar Trio, Shizuka Viola Duo, Dance Visions INC., and Giselle Ty. She has played on over 30 studio albums.

Abby received a B.M. in Violin Performance from Eastman School of Music and an M.M. in Contemporary Improvisation from The New England Conservatory. Originally from Missoula, MT, they currently live in Brooklyn, NY."

-Abby Swidler Website (

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""Trailblazing" cellist Mariel Roberts (Feast of Music) is quickly gaining recognition as a deeply dedicated interpreter and performer of contemporary music. Recent performances have garnered praise for her "technical flair and exquisite sensitivity" (American Composers Forum), as well as her ability to "couple youthful vision with startling maturity". (InDigest Magazine). She holds degrees from both the Eastman School and the Manhattan School of Music, where she specialized in contemporary performance practice while studying with Alan Harris and Fred Sherry. Mariel is a performer of international reach who has played throughout the US and Europe appearing both as a soloist and with ensembles such as Signal, Wet Ink Ensemble, Dal Niente, SEM Ensemble, the NouveauClassical Project, and the Wordless Music Orchestra. Mariel's premeire solo album, nonextraneous sounds, was released on Innova Records in September 2012. The record, consisting of brand new works commisioned by Mariel, received high accolades from sources such as TimeOut NY, TimeOut Chicago, The American Composers Forum, New Sounds with John Schaefer, and WQXR radio."

-Mivos String Quartet Website (

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"Shayna Dulberger is a bassist currently living and working in New York City. Her work is mostly known in the creative and experimental jazz genre. Since 2007 she has regularly worked with Bill Cole performing in New York City and at Syracuse University. She has recorded and performed with artists such as: Ras Moshe, William Parker, Chris Welcome, Daniel Carter, Stars Like Fleas, Walter Wright, and many others. She has performed in many festivals and series such as XFest (Lowell, MA), Rhythm in the Kitchen, KMB Jazz Festival, CMJ, "Brooklyn Next" BAM Festival, the Vision Festival, ABC No Rio's C.O.M.A., and Neues Kabarett's events at the Brecht Forum.

Dulberger's first album as a band leader, composer and producer is named "TheKillMeTrio" and was described " one of the stronger avant-jazz groups we've heard in some time." (Time Out New York) In 2007, in a review of TheKillMeTrio album "Jazz and Tzaz" wrote "The 23 year old New Yorker does not comply with the trendy model of women in Jazz". Bruce Lee Gallanter (DMG) wrote in a review for Ras Moshe's album Transcendence, "Acoustic bassist, Shayna Dulberger, is another important new musician to watch, she takes a number amazing solos on this disc that show her to be a new force to be reckoned with." Shayna has been interviewed on Taran's Free Jazz Hour (Angers, France) and was invited by All About Jazz to participate in their "Listen Up!" Section.

Dulberger's most recent album, The Basement Recordings is a solo recording consisting of loops that are rhythmically cryptic. This album is a break from the style she is most well known for. It is repetitious and mellow, not aggressive and chaotic like her work with the downtown NYC free jazz scene. It is a nontraditional solo upright bass recording. Although her main influences are Peter Kowald, William Parker, Kent Kessler, Joelle Leandre and other well known bassists, there is barely a hint of it here. Instead, she is influenced by the rhythmic elasticity and percussion of Southeast Asia, The Thai Elephant Orchestra for their sense of space and rhythm, and Throbbing Gristle for their experimentation with reverb and delay.

On this album, Dulberger's upright bass evokes the sound of other string and percussion instruments."The Garden" sounds like a harp. "Yuko" (dedicated to poet Yuko Otomo) is reminiscent of the Japanese shamisen. You can hear wind float through glass vases on "The Swings". The Basement Recordings contain no jazzy bass solos, no experimenting with licks and virtuosity. The focus is on space and meditation. For the New York City Jazz Record, Gordon Marshall wrote "No more than a patch of wilderness is The Basement Recordings uniformly beautiful and vibrant".

Dulberger was born in 1983 and raised in Mahopac, NY. She attended Manhattan School of Music's preparatory division during high school and graduated with a BM in Jazz at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University."

-Shayna Dulberger Website (

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Track Listing:

1. Neolttwigi 11:49

2. Nu Shu, Pt. 1 11:24

3. Nu Shu, Pt. 2 9:21

4. Bloom 12:52

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Compositional Forms
Chamber Jazz
Stringed Instruments
Septet recordings
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
New in Compositional Music

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Out Of Your Head Records.

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