A trans-national collaboration of superb improvisers working in minimally rugged, pointillist terrain, creating engrossing aural environments fueled by masterful technique and creative drive.
Ulher / Shibolet / Snir / Brenner / Mayer / Smith / Bymel
Label: Balance Point Acoustics
Released in: USA
"From the first meaty whoomph of Damon Smith's arco bass, one is keenly aware of a strong connection to bassists like Peter Kowald and Buschi Niebergall. There's a workman-like physicality of horsehair on strings, as well as a muscular and bodily presence that, despite its massiveness; is almost balletic in its motions.
Oakland-based Smith readily acknowledges the influence of the German bassists; his first audio experience of freely improvised bass was Kowald's FMP LP Duos: Europa. With percussionist Weasel Walter, he's crafted an approach that balances perilously between careening expressiveness and exacting detail. But the "violent rage" that characterizes a Walter disc is only one facet of Damon Smith's work.
Witness Yclept, his latest collaboration with Tel Aviv saxophonist Ariel Shibolet and Hamburg trumpeter Birgit Ulher, herself a master carver of miniscule brassy flutters and gut-wrenching wails. The three are joined across seven improvisations by a group of musicians little known outside Israel: guitarists Roni Brenner and Michel Mayer, percussionist Ofer Bymel and saxophonist Adi Snir.
Groans, flutters and stuttering yelps jab and dive at one another across these sonic canvases, supported by long, crisp howls of bowed harmonics. Smith is the most identifiable colour here, a craggy yet humanistic brown amid the whitish-silver flecks of reed (?) chirps and brassy pops and clucks. The guitars seem to be prepared, contributing feedback and electrified plinks; like Bymel's snare and thick brushes, they fill the soundscape with spiky, pointillist gestures. The sixth section is certainly the most traditional, guitar scrapes and towel-damped toms shadowing urgent long tones.
It's something ineffable that makes an "improv" recording (i.e., not jazz or free-jazz) sing - one just knows when that sweet spot gets hit. Yclept is definitely an example of the indefinable "it."-Clifford Allen, Paris Transatlantic
• Show Bio for Damon Smith
"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/)
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lowercase, micro-improv, sound improv
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Label: Balance Point Acoustics
Catalog ID: BPa014
Squidco Product Code: 15200
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded on March 12th, 2008 at HaTeiva, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel by Niv Karasenti.
Birgit Ulher-trumpet, radio, mutes, speaker
Ariel Shibolet-soprano saxophone
Adi Snir-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Damon Smith-double bass, laptop
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1. Yclept 1 6:36
2. Yclept 2 5:54
3. Yclept 3 6:30
4. Yclept 4 6:32
5. Yclept 5 13:31
6. Yclept 6 7:02
7. Yclept 7 8:11