Six focused quartet improvisations with complex, independent layers of rich textures. Featuring Dutch vocalist/sound-poet Jaap Blonk and three Texas improvisors: Damon Smith (bass), Sandy Ewen (guitar & objects), Chris Cogburn (percussion).
Blonk, Jaap / Sandy Ewen / Damon Smith / Chris Cogburn
North of Blanco
Label: Balance Point Acoustics
Released in: USA
"I first worked with Jaap Blonk in 1998 in Palermo, Sicily, in a quartet with the great alto player Gianni Gebbia. It was my first time overseas and my first European festival. In the last few years we have been able to work together again in Houston, TX. This music was recorded on short tour with two of the most important improvisors in Texas.When I started this label in 2001. I decided to use writings by bass players for the liner notes, based on an idea by William Parker (who wrote notes for BPA 015).In this case, my playing at this session was very directly influenced by the extreme prepared bass ideas documented on PascAli's incredible double bass duo album, Suspicious Activity. So it was fortunate that they wrote my first set of notes from a bass duo.The quartet would like to thank Neal D. Retke & Real Ale Brewery in Blanco, Texas."-Damon Smith, December 2013
"Funny that right after I send in the William Hooker review I get another record with Damon Smith on it. Sweet. This is a really cool album with a wide array of diverse sounds and adventurous textures.
Quirky birps and bleeps along with bizarre but somehow welcoming vocalizations characterize the first two songs, "Cueing the Nooks" and "Net Kongo" which isn't surprising consideration Dutch performance artist Jaap Blonk is on this record. It's opens up a bit more atmospherically and dynamically on the next cut, "Winner Kult Song" but the vocalizations remain a constant throughout. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it can wear you down a bit after a while. Fortunately Mr. Blonk gives guitarist Ewen, percussionist Cogburn and double bassist Smith room to breathe on the next cut "Brewing Tools" before dominating the last third. Ewen, Cogburn and Smith are sensitive and intuitive musicians who never overwhelm the proceedings and should be commended highly. With all due respect I'd love to hear them on a record as a trio some time.
"Hebber Took Us In" and "On the Big Wulk" close out the album in the same fashion and credit must be given to all for the cohesiveness of the recording. Mr. Blonk is an acquired taste but to his credit he didn't over dominate this album but I can't help thinking that maybe some folks might be turned off to six cuts lasting almost an hour together of his improvs. Nonetheless this was a cool collection and I'm glad I got to hear it. Add a star if you're a big fan of Mr. Blonk."-Ed Pettersen, Free Jazz Blog
• Show Bio for Sandy Ewen
"Sandy Ewen was born in Toronto, Canada in 1985, Sandy Ewen received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Since then she has resided in Houston, TX where she pursues musical and visual projects and her architecture license. Ewen has released several albums, including a duo with guitarist Tom Carter, a trio with bassist Damon Smith & drummer Weasel Walter, and a rock album with Austin's Weird Weeds. Ewen's visual work is closely tied to her work in sound; she uses both mediums to explore texture, composition and materials.
Ewen's microcollages, enlarged through projection and digital printing, are an exploration of material and technique. Using a unique process pioneered by the artist, natural materials and polymers are torn, liquefied, scorched, melted, cut, and fused. When enlarged, the microscopic nuances of these manipulations are manifested in exquisite detail. Ewen has presented prints of her work at 14 Pews (2012), Spacetaker/Fresh Arts (2012), Khon's (2013) & Galeria Regina (2014).
As an improviser in both art and music, Ewen sees herself as guiding materials and space rather than executing a preconceived composition. "I like to explore mediums and materials and tease out their essence," says Ewen. "Working with slide projections has focused my eye on the subtitles of natural processes of decay and transformation. Through my work, I am asking questions of the materials rather than dictating answers." "-Sandy Ewen Website (http://www.sandyewen.com/about/)
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• 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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At The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Unusual Vocal Forms
Objects and Home-made Instruments
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Shipping Weight: 3.00 units
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Label: Balance Point Acoustics
Catalog ID: BPA016
Squidco Product Code: 18919
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Double Dog Studios in Round Rock, Texas, on June 1st, 2013, by Mike Kosacek.
Jaap Blonk-voice, electronics
Sandy Ewen-guitar, objects
Damon Smith-prepared double bass
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1. Cueing the Nooks 9:09
2. Net Korgo 3:12
3. Winner Kult Song 7:54
4. Brewing Tools 21:10
5. Hebber Took Us In 9:12
6. On the Big Wulk 5:17