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A live recording at Alte Feuerwache Mannheim, Germany from Skein, extending the trio of Achim Kaufmann (piano), Frank Gratkowski (reeds), and Wilbert de Joode (bass) with Okkyung Lee (cello), Richard Barrett (electronics) and Tony Buck (drums) for an amazing album of instant composition.

Skein (Gratkowski / Kaufmann / de Joode / Lee / Barrett / Buck)

Skein (Gratkowski / Kaufmann / de Joode / Lee / Barrett / Buck): Skein (Leo)

Label: Leo    
Released in: Great Britain    

"Sometimes it is a live experience that draws you into the music of a band, and sometimes it's even the circumstances of the whole evening which influence the perception of the music.

When I went to see Achim Kaufmann (p), Frank Gratkowski (cl, as), Wilbert De Joode (b), and Tony Buck (dr) in Weikersheim/Niederstetten it was clear that I would be home late. It is a 120-mile-drive from where I live and I knew that I had to hurry to get there in time. Unfortunately, I was stuck in a traffic jam and the band had already begun to play when I arrived. I was stressed out and distracted because of the delay and I was even afraid if I would be able to concentrate and focus on the music. But after two minutes my worries were completely gone. The music took me away, I was enchanted by what I heard, there was no way to escape from the sheer perfection and enthusiasm presented by the musicians. But what does this have to do with this album?

The quartet I saw then is augmented by Richard Barrett (electronics) and Okkyung Lee (c) here, which puts the already great gang of four on an even higher level. Like huge flocks of birds flying in formations (Skein is therefore a perfect name for the band), they seem to have an invisible radar sending out signals which shows them what they have to do - it is intuitive understanding par excellence. If you compare pieces like "Schacht" and "Adze" you can see what these musicians are able to do. "Schacht" is like a mad and free expressionist dance consisting of a free jazz piano trio part and which takes a different shift when electronics and cello drop in. The tempo of the piece takes incredibly fast turns, the structures seem to glide from one part to the next- and all this is done effortlessly, out of the blue, as if it was the easiest thing to do. There are moments when Buck and Barrett build a fundament of dense, impenetrable and tight percussive rubble and Lee's and De Joode's bowing on the low registers of their instruments create a very dark and sombre atmosphere which can only partly be redeemed by the harsh alto and piano breaks that end the track. On the other hand there is the almost accessible "Adze", a composition full of scratching string sounds, smacking, hissing, and knocking saxophone tones and steaming electronics which are contrasted by lost piano notes, elegant cello lines and Tony Buck adding percussion that sounds like the melodious ticking of a clock.

This is one of the best albums this year, it is music of an austere beauty, full of the energy and unpredictability of free jazz and the subtlety of new music textures. Or, as someone put it after the concert, when we were talking to the musicians: "After five seconds I knew this would be a great concert". There's nothing more to add."-Martin Schray, Free Jazz Blog

"Okkyung Lee, a New York-based artist and South Korea native, has created a body of work blurring genre boundaries through collaborations and compositions while pushing the limitation of contemporary cello performance techniques. Her music draws from noise and extended techniques, jazz, Western classical, and Korean traditional and popular music.

Since moving to New York in 2000, She has released more than 20 albums including the latest solo record Ghil produced by Lasse Marhaug on EditionsMego/Ideologic Organ, Noisy Love Songs (for George Dyer) on Tzadik.She has performed and recorded with numerous artists from wide ranges such as Laurie Anderson, David Behrman, Mark Fell, Douglas Gordon, Jenny Hval, Vijay Iyer, Christian Marclay, Ikue Mori, Lawrence D "Butch" Morris, Marina Rosenfeld, Jim o'Rourke, Evan Parker, Wadada Leo Smith, C Spencer Yeh and John Zorn to name just a few.

Since 2010, she has been developing a site-specific duo project with New York based dancer/choreographer Michelle Boulé. They have performed at Issue Project Room, Mount Tremper Art Center and send+receive fesival in Winnipeg, Canada and scheduled perform at The Met Breuer Building on March 12th, 2016 as a part of the inaugural program, curated by pianist/composer Vijay Iyer. She opened for a legendary experimental rock group Swans in May, 2015 in Northern Europe and UK. In early 2015, Okkyung presented new compositions commissioned by London Sinfonietta as a part of Christian Marclay's exhibit at White Cube Gallery in London.

Okkyung was rewarded with prestigious Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2015 and received Foundation For Contemporary Arts Grant in 2010.

She received a dual bachelor's degree in Contemporary Writing & Production and Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music in 1998 and a master's degree in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory of Music in 2000."

-Okkyung Lee Website (

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Price: $14.36
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 4.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 5024792070824

Label: Leo
Catalog ID: LEO 708
Squidco Product Code: 21261

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded live at Alte Feuerwache Mannheim, Germany, on May 5th, 2013 by Angela Oztanil.


Wilbert de Joode-bass

Okkyung Lee-cello

Frank Gratkowski-clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone

Richard Barrett-electronics

Achim Kaufmann-piano

Tony Buck-drums

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Track Listing:

1. Tycho 7:35

2. Axoneme 10:55

3. Schacht 21:08

4. Adze 8:25

5. Limation 16:08

6. Thrum 4:41