Interactive, muscular NY improvisation from guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil, electric bassist Tom Blancarte, and drummer Andrew Drury, extending Totem>'s intensity & group empathy while expanding their range of expression in compositions balancing free playing and mysterious soundwork.
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Label: New Atlantis
Catalog ID: NA-CD-007
Squidco Product Code: 20144
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at The Thousand Caves Recording Studios, in New York, New York by Colin Marston.
Tom Blancarte-upright bass
Andrew Drury-drum set
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1. Genosong 15:21
2. Written In The Body 11:07
3. Counter Memory 10:44
4. Towards Jouissance 5:58
5. Message Without A Code 6:23
6. Post-Repeating 15:26
7. Silence On Its Road 7:56
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
sample the album:
"With Voices of Grain, the New York-based collective improv/noise rock trio TOTEM> have constructed a dazzling follow-up to their 2008 debut for seminal experimental music label ESP-DiSK, Solar Forge. Their ESP-DiSK debut garnered rave reviews around the globe, topping year-end 'Best Of' lists at tastemakers The Wire, and Point of Departure, among many others. Voices of Grain makes for an unimpeachable, hearty, coruscating and enthusiastic follow-up, reestablishing this unit as a band operating at its full potential, at the forefront of the Downtown creative jazz community.
While the domain of creative improv often births fleeting collaborations and one-off ensembles, it is always refreshing to witness the lifecycle of a real band blossoming over the course of countless rehearsals and gigs, defying the economic odds and discarding the oft-perceived need for one single leader. TOTEM>'s new offering is absolutely the sum of its very potent parts.
Drummer Andrew Drury supplies a dazzling mix of extended techniques, stirring up waves of raucous energy, and directing the musical flow of the trio. Guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil's playing is always maddeningly articulate, alternately playing the role of melodicist and flayer of splintered atonality across the stereo field. Bassist Tom Blancarte provides shredding, rumbling harmonic counterpoint, and impeccable underpinning for the trio's cosmic gyrations.
On Voices of Grain, TOTEM> have outdone themselves, creating one of the most jaw-dropping sets of guitar trio improv yet committed to record... In the process, the band has expanded the lexicon of creative trio improvisation to include a bevy of mind-bending extended techniques for electric guitar, percussion, and upright bass."-New Atlantis
"For those that have heard TOTEM>'s Solar Forge, Voices of Grain will be familiar territory as guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil, bassist Tom Blancarte, and drummer Andrew Drury deepen and extend their intensity and group empathy while expanding their range of expression.
While Solar Forge is white hot through and through, Voices of Grain has pacing of sorts, in that translucent, spacious, and at times beautiful tracks, separate the denser, more "frantic" tracks. It is in these tracks that TOTEM> shows its growth. The liner gives no information about the track lengths, and it is just as well, because time essentially stands still and even the two 15+ minute tracks ("Genosong" and "Post- Repeating") seem to flash by.
Part of the fun of this music is the "How do they get those sounds?" question, and in this area Blancarte leads the way. Indeed, he sometimes seems to have three hands and two bows, to the point where it seems that the recording must have used overdubbing, which, however, Eisenbeil denies. He states that the music was recorded with the trio close together in one room, not playing loudly, thus giving the sounds generated time to expand. The apparent loudness on headphones could be from the closeness of recording and the tightness of the sound stage. The aural journey on which this record takes the listener is enhanced by Eisenbeil's use of panning his guitar sounds, which Eisenbeil says is audible to a live audience.
TOTEM> is a trio of virtuosi that have obviously spent much time together honing their group sound. Their music always has an intensity to it, even in the softer and more transparent passages, and the astute listener can hear each player listening and responding to the others. Waves of varying densities and sound texture build, press against the listener and then ebb away, giving the music an extremely organic feel, despite Eisenbeil's upfront electronics. Voices of Grain is a fantastic recording and well worth the time to explore its many nooks and crannies."-Budd Kopman, allaboutjazz.com
• Show Bio for Andrew Drury
"Andrew Drury grew up near Seattle (USA) and works primarily in avant-jazz and free improvisation, with regular forays into other genres and media. He has performed in Europe and North America, made five CDs as a bandleader, and appeared on over 20 others. He is an acclaimed leader of percussion workshops.
Drury began drumming in the sixth grade band at his school on Bainbridge Island, Washington. After spending a summer digging a basement under his parents' house with a shovel and pick he bought a drum set and began taking lessons from Seattle drummer Dave Coleman, Sr. He later studied with Ed Blackwell, Bill Lowe, Bill Barron, and the writer Annie Dillard at Wesleyan University. He is a self-taught composer.
Drury performs as a soloist, collaborates with adventurous musicians from around the world, and leads several groups that play his compositions. In addition to groups that he leads and frequent encounters with improvisers from various parts of the world he plays regularly with Jason Kao Hwang, Jessica Lurie, Reuben Radding, the Rat Race Choir, the Steve Swell Trio, TOTEM>, Nate Wooley, Jack Wright, and others.
Since 2002 much of Drury's music has been characterized by an exploration of new materials and techniques, and by the use of texture as a central organizing element. He frequently performs using one drum, scraping the head with wood slivers and fingernails, manipulating drum head tension and harmonic patterns with bells, using the drum as an acoustic filter and amplifier for vibrations produced on other objects, and using the drum as a wind instrument.
Drury's wide ranging interests lead him periodically to explore other media and formats. Inspired by the work and writings of visual artist Robert Smithson, Drury performed and photographed over 20 Earth Solos-site specific drum set solos in desert, mountain, prairie, and industrial settings throughout the western US. He co-created a street theater piece that he performed in streets and political rallies in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico in 1993. In his work with choreographers (Love of the New Gun, Self-Obliteration Companion, etc.) he has created collages of field recordings and percussion samples, with occasional live mixing, percussion, or prepared piano. His music for dance has been presented at DTW, Joyce Soho, NW New Works Festival, and five cities in Romania.
Drury has led nearly 1,000 percussion workshops and trainings for music teachers and since 1989. Participants have included people of all ages, backgrounds, and physical abilities in rural and urban areas in schools, prisons, museums, Indian reservations, festivals, villages in Nicaragua and Guatemala, as well as the graduate school of the Columbia University School of Social Work. In 2005 he drummed with homeless people and battered women in ten shelters in Indiana. Following a six-month "Millennium Project" residency with the Oneida Nation in 2000 the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation identified him as "one of the most skilled and experienced community artists in America."
Drury has received 18 grants for his work from the NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, the Seattle Arts Commission, the Artist Trust, the Puffin Foundation, and others. He lives in Brooklyn, New York (USA)."-Andrew Drury Website (http://www.andrewdrury.com/bio.htm)
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