Nicole Mitchell explores the work of African-American writer Octavia Butler in a science fiction concept of intergalactic integration, achieved through 9 detailed pieces that balance improvisation, composition and song in unique and sophisticated ways.
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Includes download code.
Label: For Practically
Catalog ID: fpe001lp
Squidco Product Code: 19441
Format: 2 LPs
Packaging: Vinyl LP in a Gatefold Sleeve (2 LPs)
Recorded live at the MCA Stage in the Chicago Museum Of Contemporary Art, on April 30th, 2010, by Dennis O'Shea.
Nicole Mitchell-flute, composition
David Boykin-tenor sax, bass clarinet
David Young-trumpet, sralai thom
Jeff Parker-electric guitar
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1. Phases of Subduction 10:21
2. Cycle of Metamorphosis 5:31
1. The Ooli Moves 8:06
2. Dripping Matter 3:59
3. Negotiating Identity 7:44
1. Web of Hope 2:50
2. Fields of Possibility 5:50
3. Resisting Entanglement 6:19
1. The Inevitable 9:45
Song Based Music
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
sample the album:
"Among the many gateways to appreciating jazz, science fiction doesn't come to mind immediately. Yet the theme has been consistently documented on record, from Ornette Coleman's aptly titled album Science Fiction to Sun Ra's cosmic explorations. You name it.
On Intergalactic Beings (FPE Records), composer and avant-flutist Nicole Mitchell continues to explore the work of African-American writer Octavia Butler, here focusing on the perpetuation of humans through interaction with benevolent and life-saving aliens. In this futuristic scenario, humans are recovering from nuclear war and have been abducted by and forced to breed with extraterrestrials to survive as newly regenerated forms. Wait a minute, what's that got to do with music? Let's take a listen to find out.
Consisting of flute, tenor sax, bass clarinet, trumpet, sralai thom, violin, cello, electric guitar, bass, percussions, drums and vocals, the album offers a richly layered soundscape full of textured dynamics and phantasmagoric storytelling. From the stuttering motion of the opening "Phases of Subduction" to the closing "The Inevitable", the music unravels its mysteries in a complex spool of interweaving lines fraught with eerie darkness.
The track "The Ooli Moves" is a trance-like dance introduced by the unison line of bass and violin that gradually builds into a haunting maelstrom plodding along with burning urgency. After the first motif fades away, a fuzzed-out bell-like guitar interlude brings in the second motif and there's a sense a transformation has occurred. "Transformation is inevitable" warns vocalist Mankwe Ndosi and the well-chosen titles match the transient quality of the songs, each of which seems to evolve through various shape-shifting phases. On "Dripping matter", for example, a honking wail of guitar, violin and horns seem to drift in and out of the dripping rain soon pierced by Josh Abram's cavernous bass tumbling along in the oozing murk. The song segues into "Negotiating Identity", which has oenomatopeic vocals - the post-mating language? - a serrated freeform sax solo which blends into the initial wail returning to close out the song.
In this experimental setting, Mitchell's flute takes a back seat for much of the album except for a compelling solo on the closer "The Inevitable". Not taking anything away from the leader's instrumental chops, her art, at least on this album, has more to do with the organic unity the album achieves in its 9 multi-section songs, balancing improvisation and composition in a rigorously structured and challenging narrative.
In the liner notes, Mitchell explains: "by musically illustrating the process of fear, resilience and transformation with Intergalactic Beings I created sonic experiences to confront the listener." And confronted we are. These songs are full of raw energy, alternating exploratory ensemble playing with alluring thematic statements reflecting the composer's deep sense of form. "Resisting Entanglement" is a shining example of that. A little daunting in scope at first, the rewards of the album will amply reveal themselves after a few listens and a couple of trips in outer space."-Wellyouneedit.wordpress.comAlso available on CD.
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• Show Bio for Nicole Mitchell
"Nicole Mitchell (b. 1967) is a creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. As the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, Mitchell has been repeatedly awarded by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as "Top Flutist of the Year" for the last four years (2010-2014). Mitchell's music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop and African percussion through albums such as Black Unstoppable (Delmark, 2007), Awakening (Delmark, 2011), and Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler (Firehouse 12, 2008), which received commissioning support from Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works.
Mitchell formerly served as the first woman president of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and has been a member since 1995. In recognition of her impact within the Chicago music and arts education communities, she was named "Chicagoan of the Year" in 2006 by the Chicago Tribune. With her ensembles, as a featured flutist and composer, Mitchell has been a highlight at festivals and art venues throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
Ms. Mitchell is a recipient of the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts (2011) and has been commissioned by Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra and Maggio Fiorentino Chamber Orchestra (Florence, Italy). In 2009, she created Honoring Grace: Michelle Obama for the Jazz Institute of Chicago. She has been a faculty member at the Vancouver Creative Music Institute, the Sherwood Flute Institute, Banff International Jazz Workshop and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, and in magazines including Ebony, Downbeat, JazzIz, Jazz Times, Jazz Wise, and American Legacy.
Nicole MItchell is currently a Professor of Music, teaching in "Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology," (ICIT) a new and expansively-minded graduate program at the University of California, Irvine. In November 2014, ICIT was approved for the unleashing of a new MA/PhD program, which will be offered starting fall 2015. Mitchell's recent composition, Flight for Freedom for Creative Flute and Orchestra, a Tribute to Harriet Tubman, premiered with the Chicago Composers' Orchestra in December 2011 and was presented again with CCO in May 2014. She was also commisisoned by Chicago Sinfonietta for Harambee: Road to Victory, for Solo Flute, Choir and Orchestra in January 2012. Her latest commission was from the French Ministry of Culture and the Royaumont Foundation in October 2014, which supported the development and French tour of Beyond Black - a collaboration with kora master Ballake Sissoko, Black Earth Ensemble and friends. Currently Mitchell is preparing her next commission supported by the French American Jazz Exchange, entitled Moments of Fatherhood, featuring Black Earth Ensemble and the Parisian chamber group L'Ensemble Laborintus, to premiere at the Sons d'hiver Jazz Festival in late January 2015.
Among the first class of Doris Duke Artists (2012), Mitchell works to raise respect and integrity for the improvised flute, to contribute her innovative voice to the jazz legacy, and to continue the bold and exciting directions that the AACM has charted for decades. With contemporary ensembles of varying instrumentation and size (from solo to orchestra), Mitchell's mission is to celebrate the power of endless possibility by "creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar and the unknown." She is endorsed by Powell flutes."-Nicole Mitchell Website (http://nicolemitchell.com/)
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• Show Bio for David Boykin
"David Boykin began studying music on the clarinet at the age of 21 in 1991 and first performed professionally in 1997. He has released 16 recordings as a leader; appeared as a featured guest on other prominent musician's recordings, such as Nicole Mitchell, Chad Taylor, Josh Abrams, and Mike Reed; performed at major international jazz festivals and smaller jazz venues locally and globally; and founded Sonic Healing Ministries, which is an organization dedicated to the spiritual evolution of humanity through music."
Awards and Grants: Individual Artist Program, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, City of Chicago, 2015; Midwest Nexus Touring Exchange, Links Hall, Chicago 2015; Artist in Residence University of Chicago Department of Arts and Public Life 2013/2014; Galaxy Award, Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, 2011; Illinois Arts Council Fellowship For Music Composition, 2005; CAAP Grant, Chicago Department Of Cultural Affairs, 2005; Arts International Fund For US Artists Performing Abroad, 2002;CAAP Grant, Chicago Department Of Cultural Affairs, 2000"-David Boykin Website (http://davidboykin.com/bio.html)
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• Show Bio for Tomeka Reid
"Chicago based cellist, composer and educator, Tomeka Reid has been described as "a remarkably versatile player," (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune). Equally adept in classical and jazz contexts, Ms. Reid predominantly finds herself in experimental and improvisatory settings and composes for a wide range of instrumentation, from big band to chamber ensemble. Ms. Reid's music combines her love for groove along with freer concepts.
Ms. Reid is an integral part of Dee Alexander's Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble/Strings, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) Great Black Music Ensemble, and co-leads the internationally recognized string trio, Hear in Now with performances in Poznan, Poland; Paris, France; Rome, Venice, Milan, Italy; Soazza, Switzerland; and in the US: Chicago, New York and Vermont. In addition to the aforementioned ensembles, Ms. Reid performs with many of today's forward thinking musicians in the world of jazz and creative music including Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell, Jeb Bishop, Myra Melford, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Mary Halvorson, Denis Fournier, Edward Wilkerson and Harrison Bankhead. Ms. Reid also leads her own trio featuring guitarist Matt Schneider and bassist Josh Abrams, for which she composes. Ms. Reid can be heard on numerous studio recordings.
As an educator, Ms. Reid has led string improvisation workshops in Italy and the US. Most recently she co-directed the 2012 Vancouver Jazz Festivalâ€™s High School Jazz Intensive. For seven years, Ms. Reid co-directed the string program at the University of Chicagoâ€™s Laboratory School for students grade 5 thru 12. Ms. Reid is also an ABD doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign.
As a composer, Ms. Reid has been commissioned by the AACM, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and has had several opportunities to showcase her work abroad at festivals such as Umbria Jazz, An Insolent Noise and Vignola Jazz. She has been nominated and awarded residencies for composition with the Ragdale Foundation and the 2nd Annual Make Jazz Fellowship hosted by the 18th Street Arts Organization. Ms. Reid was selected as a 2012 participant in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute held at the University of California: Los Angeles."-Tomeka Reid Website (http://www.tomekareid.net/)
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• Show Bio for Jeff Parker
"Jeff Parker (born April 4, 1967) is an American jazz and rock guitarist based in Los Angeles. Parker is best known as an experimental musician, working with avant-garde electronic, rock, and improvisational groups.
Parker currently plays guitar in the post-rock group Tortoise and also was a founding member of the ensembles Isotope 217 and the Chicago Underground Trio in the 1990s and early 2000s. He is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, as well as working with musicians George Lewis, Ernest Dawkins, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman, Fred Anderson (musician) and Jason Moran. He has released three solo albums: Like-Coping, The Relatives and Bright Light in Winter."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Parker_(musician))
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• Show Bio for Joshua Abrams
"Bassist, Composer Joshua Abrams has been in the thick of chicago's vibrant music scene for fifteen years, playing & recording as leader & sideman in projects across the genres. he co-founded the "back porch minimalist" band town & country (thrill jockey/box media) & with Matana Roberts & Chad Taylor the trio sticks & stones (thrill jockety/482 music). He has released four records under his own name as well as two under the moniker "reminder" that navigate the realms of jazz & improvisation, electro-acoustic composition, beatmaking, minimalism and field recordings (eremite/delmark/eastern developments/lucky kitchen). He has appeared on over 50 recordings including records by Fred Anderson, Hamid Drake & Bindu, Bonny "prince" Billy, Nicole Mitchell Black Earth Ensemble and Black Earth Strings, Sam Prekop, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, Ernest Dawkins Chicago 12, Savath & Savalis, Prefuse 73, Rhys Chatham, Rob Mazurek, Tortoise, the Roots, Edith Frost, Mia Doi Todd, Diverse, Joan of Arc, Lorren Mazzacane Connors, David Grubbs, David Boykin, Chris Conelly, & the Cairo Gang. He has performed with Roscoe Mitchell, Bill Dixon, Von Freeman, Fred Anderson trio, John Tchicai, the Exploding Star Orchestra, Henry Grimes, Axel Dorner, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Peter Evans, Damo Suzuki, Wilbert de Joode, Jandek, Walter Wierbos, Tony Conrad, Bobby Broom, Sean Bergin, Nate Wooley, Craig Taborn, David Stakenas, Fred Hopkins, Rhys Chatham, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Neil Michael Hagerty, Lin Halliday, Raymond Strid, Douglas Ewart, Toumani Diabate, the Chicago Underground Orchestra, Ron Dewar, Baby d, Kevin Drumm, Terry x, Frederick Lvunquist, Jim o'Rourke, Kurt Vonnegut, & Earle Brown. When in chicago he plays weekly with Jeff Parker and John Herndon."-Nicole Mitchell Website (http://nicolemitchell.com/joshua-abrams)
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