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Thollem + Chase: Dub Narcotic Session (New Atlantis)

Vanguard pianist Thollem McDonas, and NY drummer Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) in a duo of "blues, punk rock, honky tonk, and folk with abstract maximalism and raw technical integrity".

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product information:

UPC: 616892198147

Label: New Atlantis
Catalog ID: NA-CD-016
Squidco Product Code: 20152

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Dub Narcotic Studio, in Olympia, Washington, on August 6th 2013, by Ben Hargett.


Thollem McDonas-piano

Brian Chase-drums

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track listing:

1. Dis-Mis-Education 4:50

2. After One 3:02

3. Scavengers And Nomads 4:36

4. Mind Control Free For All 2:26

5. Where We Come From 7:45

6. Awed By All 19:43
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Piano & Keyboards
Percussion & Drums
Duo Recordings

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Vanguard pianist Thollem McDonas, and master drummer Brian Chase (a veteran of New York's creative music underground, and indie rock stalwarts, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Forging allusions to the blues, punk rock, honky tonk, and folk with abstract maximalism and raw technical integrity.

Thollem and Brian first met in New York City during the summer of 2012, performing as a trio with bassist James Ilgenfritz. The following year saw the release of 'The Whistling Joy Jumpers', a collaboration between Thollem, Brian, and the legendary Jad Fair (of Half Japanese). In the summer of 2013, Thollem and Brian traveled to Olympia, Washington, to record a session at K Records' storied Dub Narcotic studio. During the first day of the session, their guitarist fell ill, leaving Thollem and Brian with a day in the studio. The fittingly titled 'Dub Narcotic Session' is the free-ranging result, defying handy categorization, set in spontaneously unfolding linear landscapes of sonic terrain.

'Mind Control Free For All' is charged with a kinetic punk undercurrent, blossoming into swaths of explosive energy. The lyrical 'Where We Come From' evokes the modal excursions of Sonny Sharrock and Alice Coltrane, underpinning a reverence for tonality and the blues with an expertly shifting rhythmic foundation. By contrast, 'Dis-Mis-Education' erupts with scatter-shot, stagger-stepped free improvisation from the outset, unfaltering through the track's close.

Brian Chase is a drummer and composer living in Brooklyn, NY. Though he works in a variety of contexts, he is probably best known as a member of the group Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a band that has toured extensively throughout the world and has been nominated for three Grammys. On the new music side, Brian is very active in the experimental music scene, largely based around the community of John Zorn's club, The Stone; in this setting, performance collaborations have included those with Alan Licht, Chris Cochrane, Andrea Parkins, Anthony Coleman, and Jeremiah Cymerman, amongst many more. Brian also dedicates much time to his solo project, Drums and Drones; an album of this material was released in 2013 on the Pogus label and features 'moving paintings' by video artists Ursula Scherrer and Erik Zajaceskowski. Away from the drums Brian is a regular practitioner of Ashtanga yoga.

Thollem has been touring perpetually for 7 years, and has released 35 albums of his own and in collaboration with others on 15 different vanguard labels. A brief cross-section of his many collaborations includes Stefano Scodanibbio, Nels Cline, Pauline Oliveros, William Parker, Susie Ibarra, Mike Watt, John Dieterich, Carmina Escobar, Gino Robair and Rent Romus. He is also the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a long-term project bringing together improvisers and composers from both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. Some of his many other groups include Tsigoti, Soar Trio, Bad News From Houston and The Hand To Man Band. He regularly gives workshops and is a published author in the US and the Czech Republic."-New Atlantis

Artist Biographies:

"Thollem is a pianist, keyboardist, organist, composer, improviser, singer-songwriter, activist, author and teacher. He's spent his life skirting and erasing the edges of boundaries musically, culturally, geographically. His work is ever changing, evolving and responding to the times and his experiences, both as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of artists across idioms and disciplines. Though Thollem's widely known as an acoustic piano player, he's also the lead vocalist for the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti and has recently branched out significantly into the world of electronics through a multitude of projects.

Thollem was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, studying the standard classical piano repertoire, composing and improvising since he was a young child and absorbing the myriad of sounds of his culturally diverse upbringing. After dedicating his 20s and 30s to grassroots political activism, he's refocused his attention these last 15 years on a breadth of musics that incorporate his myriad experiences and curiosities. In this last decade alone, he has played well over 1,000 concerts throughout N. America and Europe as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of musicians, dancers, and filmmakers. As leader or co-leader, he has released over 50 albums in that span on 22 different vanguard labels to international critical acclaim. "Thollem is an astounding pianist who understands the huge scope of the instrument" (Terry Riley) and who continues to delve into the furthest reaches and sub-genres of Post-Classical, Free Jazz, Noise, Punk, dance and film. A brief cross section of his many recent collaborators include William Parker, Pauline Oliveros, Stefano Scodanibbio, Nels Cline, Mike Watt, Rob Mazurek, Martha Colburn and ACVilla. He is the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross border ensemble for musical exchange as well as the lead singer of the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti. Presently Thollem is developing an audio/visual experience about America through an 8 month, 48 state odyssey with his partner the videographer ACVilla. He's also a published author about art, politics and his travels in The Anthology of Essays On Deep Listening, Full Moon Magazine (Prague) and First American Art Magazine."

-Thollem McDonas Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Selected Discography:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Drums and Drones
w/ The Seconds
w/ Alan Licht
w/ Peter Aaron
w/ Collapsible Shoulder
w/ Thollem McDonas
w/ Seth Misterka:
w/ Jeremiah Cymerman
w/ Man Forever
w/ Karlie Bruce
w/ Fretless Brothers
w/ Sway Machinery
w/ Tyondai Braxton

-Brian Chase Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
Chase, Brian / Andrea Parkins
Avalanche of Routes
Thollem / Wimberly / Cline
Radical Empathy
(Relative Pitch)
Other Recommended Releases:
Thollem / Duroche / Stjames Trio
Live In Our Time
Thollem / Mazurek
Blind Curves and Box Canyons
(Relative Pitch)
McDonas, Thollem / Mad King Edmund
Happening: A Movement In 12 Acts
Thollem / Oliveros / Cline
Molecular Affinity [VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
Ligeti, Lukas / Thollem Mcdonas
Imaginary Images
Impulsive Machinations (Thollem McDonas + Sara Lund)
Conformity Contortion
(New Atlantis)
Read Between The Lines...Think Outside Them
(Post Consumer)
Bad News From Houston (McDonas / Dieterich)
In The Valley Of The Cloud Builder
(Post Consumer)
Estamos Trio
People's Historia
(Relative Pitch)

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