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A sublime five-part suite commissioned by Chamber Music America, performed by Loren Stillman (sax), Fabian Almazan (piano), Ryan Ferreira (guitar), Linda Oh (bass), and Justin Brown drums), exploring the subliminal patterns hidden below apparent reality.

Dingman, Chris
The Subliminal and the Sublime

Dingman, Chris: The Subliminal and the Sublime (Inner Arts)

Label: Inner Arts    
Released in: USA    

"From the giant redwoods of California to the smallest ripples in water, our place and purpose in the universe is often illuminated by our awareness of the natural world. In his stunning five-part suite The Subliminal and the The Sublime, genre-defying composer/vibraphonist Chris Dingman elegantly captures these profound and subtle wonders of nature, ultimately guiding the listener to reflect on the cosmos and their place within it."

"The Subliminal and the Sublime is based on the concept that, under the surface of our apparent reality, there are subliminal layers of patterns, details and depth. When we look at these layers more closely, we have the opportunity to discover sublime truths about the world and ourselves."

So says vibraphonist, composer and bandleader Chris Dingman of his forthcoming album, slated for release on June 16th on the non-profit Inner Arts Initiative imprint.

The work was commissioned by Chamber Music America, conceived over a period of a year and a half and debuted in New York City in Fall 2013. Much of the record was inspired by Dingman's travels in the American West, where his direct experience with the forces of nature inspired his compositions. "I wanted to capture the feeling of the close range and the massive in music -- to get a larger yet more detailed view of everything....It's all juxtaposed and arranged together, so there are multiple layers happening at once."

Joining Dingman for this ambitious undertaking, recorded over two days this past November, are alto saxophonist Loren Stillman, whose resume includes works with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian and Carla Bley; pianist Fabian Almazan, who's gained notoriety as Terence Blanchard's pianist; guitarist Ryan Ferreira, a regular on the West Coast experimental scene; 30-year old Malaysian-born bassist Linda Oh and Justin Brown, a drummer out of Oakland who extensive resume (Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, Gerald Clayton, Stefon Harris, Esperanza Spaulding, Terence Blanchard) belies his youthful countenance.

This five part suite, which also finds influence in everything from West African griot to Steve Reich and Debussy, opens with the four and one-half minute soundscape "Tectonic Plates." Like the geological phenomena that inspired the piece, the composition features almost imperceptible movements in tone, much as one imagines the sound made by the plates as move quietly, undetectable beneath our feet. Hence, Dingman speaks to those "subliminal layers of patterns, details and depth" found in his musical manifesto.

Almazan opens the second movement of this suite, "Voices Of The Ancient," with a simple two chord motif that establishes the harmonic center of the piece. As it gradually begins to move in counterpoint with Dingman's vibraphone and Oh's bass, the tension of the piece begins. Brown starts shape-shifting across the kit as Stillman subtly sneaks into the mix. Midway through the 17 minutes of this tune, the piece almost explodes before falling gently back to the ground. The experimentalist, open road musical landscaping of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays bear witness here as the piece fades into the short piano and vibraphone exposition "Pleas." Muted and serene, with occasional flashes of metal from Brown, the piece serves as a resting spot in the middle of the musical expedition.

"The Pinnacles" bears a resemblance to "Voices Of The Ancient," as if the former were a climb up the mountain and latter is the view from the top. Stillman's inconspicuous horn lines inform the bright texture of the piece as it ebbs and flows, much as water might flow down the mountain. Not coincidentally, the fifth movement of The Subliminal and The Sublime is called "All Flows Forth," well interpreted as both the flow of elements in nature and the flow of energy in the spirit realm.

For traditionalists -- be it of a bop or pop nature -- this record will not abide. But experimentalist, especially those who fall from the lofts of Tony Scott and Alan Watts, this record should inspire interest."-Michael Verity, About Entertainment

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Product Information:

UPC: 888295260237

Label: Inner Arts
Catalog ID: IACD
Squidco Product Code: 20978

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at The Clubhouse Studio in Rhinebeck, New York, on November 25th and 26th, 2013, by Paul Antonell.


Chris Dingman-vibraphone

Loren Stillman-alto saxophone

Fabian Almazan-piano

Ryan Ferreira-guitar

Linda Oh-bass

Justin Brown-drums

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Track Listing:

1. The Subliminal and the Sublime: I. Tectonic Plates 4:33

2. The Subliminal and the Sublime: II. Voices of the Ancient 17:27

3. The Subliminal and the Sublime: III. Plea 3:01

4. The Subliminal and the Sublime: IV. The Pinnacles 19:50

5. The Subliminal and the Sublime: V. All Flows Forth 16:03