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Ligeti, Lukas / Thollem Mcdonas: Imaginary Images (Leo)

Merging the sensibilities of compositional, jazz, and free improvised music, pianist Thollem McDonas and Lukas Ligeti on drums and electric "marimba lumina" create a hybrid that takes the best of all three in distinctive, disciplined, and heartfelt ways.

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product information:

UPC: 5024792070923

Label: Leo
Catalog ID: LEO 709
Squidco Product Code: 21262

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Peter Karl Studios in Brooklyn, New York by Peter Karl.


Lukas Ligeti-drums

Thollem McDonas-piano

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track listing:

1. Dark Correspondence 5:58

2. Minds Fill In 7:53

3. Whisper Stream 3:30

4. Reflexivities 8:56

5. Connecting Thoughts 7:00

6. Advance In Standstill 5:55

7. The Gravity Of Up 6:38
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Duo Recordings
Leo Records
New in Improvised Music

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Thollem McDonas and Lukas Ligeti possess something rare but all the more valuable: voices of their own. While arguably part of the American Maverick tradition, they have both studied the canon of classical music and have digested the idiom of jazz and the many-armed traditions of free improvisation. But they are, ultimately, individualists, dancing to drummers very much of their own invention. In an age of conformity, these non- conformist musicians point towards an exit from creative gridlock, combining their respective languages and finding common ground by accepting the challenge, by listening and reacting to each other in the most surprising ways."-Mark Keresman, from the liner notes

"The recognisable rhythmic is held at bay here as drums and piano seek out the essence of spontaneity and improvisation in a diversity dependent ultimately within the (extensive) limitations, the actualities of their particular instruments. Short, seemingly ingenuous models and outlines are woven together asconvoluted webs and fabrics of material sounds, but with autonomy from synchronicity and pitch. The emphasis is more towards sound quality and tenor, as in much contemporary musical practice.

Silence, too, plays an occasional part in the music, whether as partial or absolute sound absence. John Cage and György Ligeti both exploited the technique. György was Lukas' father and is often thought to be the greatest of the 20th century composers, certainly of the post-40s. He was to use musical pointillism in his Nouvelles Aventures and like father, Lukas does here. It is true though that this is merely his use of a recognisable technique, not a doffing of the cap to daddy.

The music in this album is insolently idiosyncratic and echoes a vast array of dissimilar experiences from gamelan to post-punk. Despite the apparently hard edges, it is not without an emotional impact."-Ken Cheetham

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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 (

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