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Briggan Krauss' homage to the emission line of hydrogen at 6562.8 Angstroms, in a trio with Ikue Mori and Jim Black, cogent to chaotic discourse on the nature of the universe.

H-Alpha (Krauss / Mori / Black)
Red Sphere

H-Alpha (Krauss / Mori / Black): Red Sphere (Skirl)
Label: Skirl    
Released in: USA    

"Here is the most down-to-earth trio of astrophysicist stargazers you have ever heard. For the non-physicists among you : H-Alpha is a specific emission line created by hydrogen at 6562.8 Angstroms. H-Alpha filters are used in telescopes to look at the stars. A Red Sphere could as well be a proton or a red giant, a huge star. Whatever it is, it is clear that we are both in the world of tiny elements and huge elements.

Now, how does this relate to this music? First, the band consists of Briggan Kraus on sax, Ikue Mori on laptop and Jim Black on drums. Three stellar musicians. Two, all 17 tracks carry names of stars : "Sun", "Alpha Centauri", "Barnard's Star", "Lalande 21185", and so forth, until we reach "Groombridge 34". Those interested in the exact distance of these stars from the earth, can educate themselves by looking it all up on Wikipedia. Three, there is of course the music itself : mostly short tracks with an exquisite story to tell, ranging from violent to chaotic, from scary to screechy, from rhythmic to abstract, from industrial to spacey, but never boring. One thing is sure : each track is highly energetic, with subatomic particles bouncing away against each other and in every direction, in a process of intense interaction, with electronic crackles and beeps, rhythmic and a-rhythmic percussion sounds and a wailing sax, a droning sax, a power sax.

No doubt, this is weird music, but it's so coherent and uncompromosing in its approach that it's great fun. The most amazing thing about the album is the incredible interaction between the musicians. Krauss and Black seem to have been made for each other, both skilled, disciplined and creative powerplayers, and Mori does more than just provide some background noise. Her contribution is absolutely essential for the overall effect, however sparse it may be at times. It is not easy listening, but this kind of space travel is definitely worth more to me than the $ 30 mio this loser paid for, today. What a ride, indeed!"-Stef, FreeJazzStef

"Ikue Mori moved from her native city of Tokyo to New York in 1977. She started playing drums and soon formed the seminal NO WAVE band DNA, with fellow noise pioneers Arto Lindsay and Tim Wright. DNA enjoyed legendary cult status, while creating a new brand of radical rhythms and dissonant sounds; forever altering the face of rock music.

In the mid 80's Ikue started in employ drum machines in the unlikely context of improvised music. While limited to the standard technology provided by the drum machine, she has never the less forged her own highly sensitive signature style. Through out in 90's She has subsequently collaborated with numerous improvisors throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, while continuing to produce and record her own music. 1998, She was invited to perform with Ensemble Modern as the soloist along with Zeena Parkins, and composer Fred Frith, also "One hundred Aspects of the Moon" commissioned by Roulette/Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. Ikue won the Distinctive Award for Prix Ars Electronics Digital Music category in 99.

In 2000 Ikue started using the laptop computer to expand on her already signature sound, thus broadening her scope of musical expression. 2000 commissioned by the KITCHEN ensemble, wrote and premired the piece "Aphorism" also awarded Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship. 2003 commissioned by RELACHE Ensemble to write a piece for film In the Street and premired in Philadelphia. Started working with visual played by the music since 2004. In 2005 Awarded Alphert/Ucross Residency.

Ikue received a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2006. In 2007 the Tate Modern commissioned Ikue to create a live sound track for screenings of Maya Deren's silent films. In 2008 Ikue celebrated her 30th year in NY and performed at the Japan Society. Recent commissioners include the Montalvo Arts Center and SWR German radio program and Shajah Art foundation in UAE. Current working groups include MEPHISTA with Sylvie Courvoisier and Susie Ibarra, PHANTOM ORCHARD with Zeena Parkins, project with Koichi Makigami and various ensembles of John Zorn. New duo Twindrums project with YoshimiO  workshop/lecture in various schools include University of Gothenburg, Dartmouth Collage, New England Conservatory, Mills Collage, Stanford University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago"

-Ikue Mori Website (

Jim Black is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians bringing jazz into the 21st century. In addition to being one of the most influential drummers of our time, he is also the leader of one of the world's most forward-thinking bands, AlasNoAxis, featuring his longtime collaborators Chris Speed, Hilmar Jensson and Skúli Sverrisson. Based on the foundation of his virtuosic but highly personal approach to jazz drumming, Black's aesthetic has expanded to include Balkan rhythms, rock songcraft and laptop soundscapes. Though he is revered worldwide for his limitless technique and futuristic concepts, what many listeners treasure in most Jim Black's work is the relentless feeling of joy and invention he brings to his performances. Jim Black's smiling, kinetic, unpredictable presence has enthralled and inspired audiences worldwide for over twenty-five years.

Since the mid-90's, Black has played a major role in the incorporation of new sounds and techniques into the jazz/creative music context. As a member of the collective group Pachora (with Speed, Sverrisson, and guitarist Brad Shepik) Black was one of the leaders in the study and adaptation of Balkan music into jazz-based music. His advanced techniques abstracted the odd time signatures of the Balkans into a new polyrhythmic language equally informed by modern jazz, drum&bass and the dumbeks of the Balkans. Black has also been an innovator in the use of electronics in improvisation, bridging the gap between electro-acoustic improv and more jazz-based traditions. Today, Black's performances are just as likely to feature his laptop-based electronic textures as his drumming.

Born in 1967, Jim Black grew up in Seattle alongside future colleagues Chris Speed, Andrew D'Angelo and Cuong Vu. After cementing their personal and artistic relationships in Seattle's various youth jazz ensembles, in 1985 they moved to Boston, where Black entered the Berklee School of Music. In Boston, Black, Speed and D'Angelo formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, which rapidly attracted the attention of the jazz cognoscenti in Boston, New York and beyond.

By 1991, Black and the other members of Human Feel had moved to New York City, where they electrified the Downtown music scene then centered around the Knitting Factory and rapidly became among the city's busiest sidemen. Black's early years in New York saw him take featured roles in some of the most critically acclaimed bands of the time, like Tim Berne's Bloodcount, Ellery Eskelin's trio, and Dave Douglas's Tiny Bell Trio. Thus began fifteen years of near-constant touring and recording, with the above bands as well as artists like Uri Caine, Dave Liebman, Nels Cline, Steve Coleman, Tomasz Stanko, and Laurie Anderson.

-Jim Black Website (

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Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Mori, Ikue
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings

Get additional information at Freejazz-Stef @ Blogspot

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Price: $14.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 884501050739

Label: Skirl
Catalog ID: Skirl 009
Squidco Product Code: 11673

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: USA
Packaging: DVD Digipack
Recorded on Valentine's Day 2008 at Brooklyn Recording by Andrew Taub. Mixed and masatered by Kato Hideki at Shadown World Studio. Produced by Briggan Krauss.


Briggan Krauss-alto saxophone, baritone saxophone

Ikue Mori-laptop

Jim Black-drums, percussion

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Track Listing:

1. Sun 6:31

2. Alpha Centauri 2:43

3. Barnard's Star 0:58

4. Wolf 359 1:58

5. Lalande 21185 8:11

6. Sirius 1:38

7. Luyten 726-8 1:59

8. V1216 Sagittarii 4:46

9. HH Andromedae 1:41

10. Epsilon Eridani 5:46

11. Lacaille 9352 1:16

12. Fi Virginis 1:32

13. EZ Aquarii 3:14

14. Procyon 1:47

15. 61 Cygni 5:18

16. Struve 2398 2:58

17. Groombridge 34 4:38