Multi-reedist Josh Sinton and double bassist Dominic Lash spent a year researching early forms of free-form playing, inviting guests Nate Wooley, Indrid Laubrock, Kyoko Kitamura, and Alex Ward to record the results with them, heard in this outstanding set of recordings from duo to sextet.
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Label: OutNow Recordings
Catalog ID: ON028
Squidco Product Code: 22177
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Peter Karl Studios in October 15th, 201, by Peter Karl, and at The Gallery on October 23rd, 2011. by Keith Parker.
Josh Sinton-amplified contrabass clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone
Ingrid Laubrock-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
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1. Las-lau(T)-sin-war-woo 10:01
2. Las-sin(Ax) 4:06
3. Kit-Las-Sin-War 7:46
4. Las-Sin 3:09
5. Las-lau(S)-sin 11:17
6. Las-Sin-Woo 4:34
7. Las-sin(Cl) 6:00
8. Las-lau(S)-sin-woo 9:21
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"Signal Gain highlights the results of almost a year of research Dominic Lash and Josh Sinton conducted in Brooklyn,NY in 2011. During that time, Lash and Sinton met on a semi-regular basis at the (now defunct) Douglass Street Music Collective and engaged in a style of free-form playing that was pioneered almost sixty years ago in North America. For Lash, it was an opportunity to play regularly with a musician from a different geographic background whose personal history of listening only occasionally intersected with his own. For Sinton, it was a chance to play with the kind of space and intimacy his instruments of choice (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet) are rarely afforded and with a deeply compassionate partner.
When the time came to document the results of their experiments, they decided to record some duo material in Bushwick but then hit upon the idea of inviting some guests to join them for an additional session. The guests didn't have a history of playing with this duo, although individually there are many and various intersections between all the musicians. Hence the group sessions were informed by these intersections, but the only truly common factor was the duo voice of Lash/Sinton.
The experience of the guests ranges very widely and represents many facets of both the New York (Kyoko Kitamura, Nate Wooley) and London (Alex Ward) creative music scenes - with Ingrid Laubrock having lived for many years in London, but at the time of the recording having resided for several years in New York. So there was a certain amount of grounded spontaneity to the proceedings. For the group sessions, Sinton decided to make use of amplified contrabass clarinet, an instrument he had acquired in 2010 with the express intent of researching the implications of John Butcher and Nate Wooley's work with amplified acoustic instruments.
The results you now hold in your ears are a little slice of time from a small place where these folks focused and planned to the best of their ability."-OutNow
"I've written at some length about my admiration for the work of Dominic Lash, and I've been consistently excited by what I've already heard from Josh Sinton (primarily Holus-Bolus and Ideal Bread, plus his contributions to Nate Wooley's quintet and sextet and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society). On both his website and Twitter, Sinton's written at length about improvisation, and I was really excited by the lineup he and Lash brought together for this recording. As several contributors to this blog have mentioned, Ingrid Laubrock has emerged as one of the most remarkable players on the scene. Nate Wooley is well-known as a highly skilled and experimental improviser. Kyoko Kitamura has one of the most wonderful, expressive voices in creative music. And Alex Ward is a prolific and phenomenal clarinetist (and sometime guitarist, though not here), who has previously recorded with Lash.
On Signal Gain, Lash and Sinton lead the sextet through a series of improvisations, rotating through a variety of pairings, from quintet to duo. There's something of a mathematical interlocking when viewed through the lens of the credits, which have a legend to decode instrumentation, as well as shorthand of each participant's last name. I'd recommend, however, that any listener skip right over that and just dive right in to this extensive sound world.
First, the album is organized into a set of subgroups. There are the three duets with Lash and Sinton: "Las-Sin(ax)" with Sinton on baritone saxophone, "Las-Sin" with Sinton on amplified contrabass clarinet, and "Las-Sin(cl)" with Sinton on bass clarinet. These duets are lively and provide some connective tissue between the larger group improvisations. They also tease (hopefully) more duet recordings from Lash and Sinton. The pair complement each other nicely.
Next are the large-groups, quintet and quartet. On album opener "Las-Lau(t)-Sin-War-Woo," each player enters and exits in quick bursts, for the first several minutes. There's an effect of lights being switched on and off, or streaks of sound teasing their way through the air. The tone is set for a comfortably open improvisation, with the participants listening keenly and reacting to each other with something barely resembling call and response. Halfway through the opener, Sinton goes to the lower register for some deep, earthy tones. Laubrock plays a lyrical line, taking up the middle range, and Ward layers a few brisk runs in the upper register. Gradually, Lash and Wooley make their way back to the group, with Lash picking up the pace for a rapid chase to the finish. Interestingly, Kitamura appears on only one track, "Kit-Las-Sin-War,"and I felt like there was a missed opportunity not pairing her with Wooley. Both have an impressive, almost supernatural range. Though, to be fair, Kitamura and Ward, paired with Lash and Sinton, makes for a fascinating doubling, with Kitamura and Ward in the upper register, and Lash and Sinton in the lower one.
Much like the three duets, one could make a grouping of "Las-Lau(s)-Sin," "Las-Sin-Woo," and "Las-Lau(s)-Sin-Woo," largely because they depend on the strong connection between Lash, Sinton, Laubrock, and Wooley. "Las-Lau(s)-Sin," with Laubrock on soprano and Sinton on amplified contrabass clarinet, is one of the highlights. "Las-Sin-Woo" explores the quieter sides of all three instruments, bass, contrabass clarinet, and trumpet. It's reminiscent of some extended improvisations Wooley's done in the past, a very subdued, brief sonic exploration. And "Las-Lau(s)-Sin-Woo," the album closer, is an unqualified success. Though it isn't the longest track on the album, it's got a languid tone that eases towards its conclusion.
OutNow has been releasing some great small and larger group improv records for a while now. I'd like to see more with Sinton and Lash, specifically, whether that's a long duet or another of these rotating collective albums. The two have a strong connection, and I'd like to see additional meetings build on the ideas here."-Lee Rice Epstein, Free Jazz Collective
Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective
• Show Bio for Josh Sinton
"Josh Sinton, a native of Southern New Jersey, born in 1971, is a creative musician who specializes in playing the baritone saxophone and bass clarinet. Growing up, his musical inspirations were his father's record collection, his brothers' record collections and watching his father play stride piano at parties. There wasn't anyone else playing music so to this day Sinton remains mystified that the music bug stuck at all.
He studied composition at the University of Chicago and improvisation at the AACM in the 1990's and then proceeded to carve out a niche for himself in Chicago writing and performing music for dance (with Julia Mayer) and theater (at Steppenwolf Studio and Bailiwick Repertory) as well as performing and studying with local musicians such as Fred Anderson, Ken Vandermark, Ari Brown and Cameron Pfiffner. He would leave Chicago during this time for extended backpacking trips around Europe and India and found a lot of useful information for his later work.
Determined to overcome his technical shortcomings, he gave all this up and moved to Boston in 1999 to resume studies at the New England Conservatory. He spent five years in Boston and met, played and studied with a variety of folks including Steve Lacy, Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Jim Hobbs and the Either Orchestra. Despite their encouragement, Sinton was overjoyed when he got to leave Boston in 2004.
Since then, Sinton has lived in Brooklyn, New York. He's been fortunate enough to be a long-standing member of Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, the Nate Wooley Quintet, the Andrew D'Angelo DNA Orchestra and Anthony Braxton's Tricentric Orchestra. With these groups he's travelled to several countries in Europe and South America as well as played many festivals (Moers, Newport, BMW, Bergamo, Tampere Jazz Happening, etc.). Sinton is proud of the collaborators he's been able to work with (Kirk Knuffke, Tomas Fujiwara, Chad Taylor, Mary Halvorson, Ingrid Laubrock, Jeremiah Cymerman, Josh Roseman, Harris Eisenstadt, Roswell Rudd, James Fei, Denman Maroney, Han-Earl Park, Greg Tate, Curtis Hasselbring, Mike Pride, Jon Irabagon) but the list of people he still hopes to play with is vast.
As a long-standing member of the Douglass Street Music Collective, Josh Sinton has hosted hundreds of concerts over the past 7 years Brooklyn. His work has been recognized by Downbeat (Critics' and Readers' Poll), Jazz Times (Critics' Poll) and El Intruso (International Critics' Poll) and has been discussed in The Wire, Signal to Noise, Point of Departure, the New York Times and the New York City Jazz Record.
Sinton defines himself as a "creative musician" rather than a jazz musician and has done so since 2011. His reasons for this are varied and personal, but some of them are outlined here and here. Suffice to say, friendly listeners can label him what they will. Sinton will just continue creating sounds with the goal of wasting nobody's time.
Currently Sinton leads the band Ideal Bread as well playing regularly with the Nate Wooley Quintet and the Tricentric Orchestra. He is busy writing new music for himself and his collaborators as well as contributing essays to the websites of Darcy James Argue, Ethan Iverson's Do The Math, Destination: Out and Sound American."-Josh Sinton Website (http://joshsinton.com/about/)
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• Show Bio for Dominic Lash
"Born Cambridge, England, in January 1980; played bass guitar since 1994; studied with Hugh Boyd and Pascha Milner and at Basstech (London) with Rob Burns, Terry Gregory and others. Played double bass since 2001; basically self taught, with grateful thanks to Simon H. Fell. First class BA in English Literature from Oxford University (2002). Received MA Composition from Oxford Brookes University in 2003, having studied with Paul Whitty, Ray Lee and others. Received PhD from Brunel University in 2010, having studied the work of Derek Bailey, Helmut Lachenmann and JH Prynne and been supervised by Richard Barrett and John Croft."-Dominic Lash Website (http://dominiclash.blogspot.com/p/dominic-lash_5.html)
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• Show Bio for Ingrid Laubrock
"Originally from Germany, Ingrid Laubrock resides in Brooklyn, NY. Between 1989 and 2009 she was active as a saxophonist and composer in London/UK. She performed and/or recorded with: Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, Kenny Wheeler, Jason Moran, Tim Berne, William Parker, Tom Rainey, Mary Halvorson, Kris Davis, Tyshawn Sorey, Craig Taborn, Luc Ex, Django Bates' Human Chain, The Continuum Ensemble and many others.
Ingrid's current projects as a leader are Anti-House, Sleepthief, Ingrid Laubrock Orchestra, Ingrid Laubrock Sextet and Ubatuba. Collaborations include LARK,Haste,Paradoxical Frog and Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey Duo.She is a member of Anthony Braxton's Falling River Music Quartet, Nonet and 12+1tet, Tom Rainey Trio and Obbligato, Andrew Drury's Content Provider, Mary Halvorson Septet, Kris' Davis Quintet, Nate Wooley's Battle Pieces and Luc Ex' Assemblée. Ingrid was one of the featured soloists in Anthony Braxton's opera Trillium J.
Awards include the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2004, a Fellowship in Jazz Composition by the Arts Foundation in 2006, the 2009 SWR German Radio Jazz Prize and the 2014 German Record Critics Quarterly Award. Commissions include Jammy Dodgers for jazz quintet and dancers (2006), Nonet music for Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2007, SWR New Jazz Meeting 2011 and "Vogelfrei", a piece for chamber orchestra (ACO/Tricentric Foundation). She won Rising Star/soprano saxophone in the 2015 in the 'Downbeat Annual Critics Poll and won the 'El Intruso Critics Poll for tenor saxophone in 2013. Ingrid was Improviser in Residence 2012 in the German city Moers. The post is created to introduce creative music into the city throughout the year. As part of this she led a regular improvisation ensemble and taught sound workshops in elementary schools. Other teaching experiences include improvisation workshops at Towson University, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Baruch College, University of Michigan, University of Newcastle and many others."-Ingrid Laubrock Website (http://ingridlaubrock.com/about.html)
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• Show Bio for Nate Wooley
"Nate Wooley was born in 1974 in Clatskanie, Oregon, a town of 2,000 people in the timber country of the Pacific Northwestern corner of the U.S. He began playing trumpet professionally with his father, a big band saxophonist, at the age of 13. His time in Oregon, a place of relative quiet and slow time reference, instilled in Nate a musical aesthetic that has informed all of his music making for the past 20 years, but in no situation more than his solo trumpet performances.
Nate moved to New York in 2001, and has since become one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with such icons as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Eliane Radigue, Ken Vandermark, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada, as well as being a collaborator with some of the brightest lights of his generation like Chris Corsano, C. Spencer Yeh, Peter Evans, and Mary Halvorson.
Wooley's solo playing has often been cited as being a part of an international revolution in improvised trumpet. Along with Peter Evans and Greg Kelley, Wooley is considered one of the leading lights of the American movement to redefine the physical boundaries of the horn, as well as demolishing the way trumpet is perceived in a historical context still overshadowed by Louis Armstrong. A combination of vocalization, extreme extended technique, noise and drone aesthetics, amplification and feedback, and compositional rigor has led one reviewer to call his solo recordings "exquisitely hostile".
In the past three years, Wooley has been gathering international acclaim for his idiosyncratic trumpet language. Time Out New York has called him "an iconoclastic trumpeter", and Downbeat's Jazz Musician of the Year, Dave Douglas has said, "Nate Wooley is one of the most interesting and unusual trumpet players living today, and that is without hyperbole". His work has been featured at the SWR JazzNow stage at Donaueschingen, the WRO Media Arts Biennial in Poland, Kongsberg, North Sea, Music Unlimited, and Copenhagen Jazz Festivals, and the New York New Darmstadt Festivals. In 2011 he was an artist in residence at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY and Cafe Oto in London, England. In 2013 he performed at the Walker Art Center as a featured solo artist.
Nate is the curator of the Database of Recorded American Music (www.dramonline.org) and the editor-in-chief of their online quarterly journal Sound American (www.soundamerican.org) both of which are dedicated to broadening the definition of American music through their online presence and the physical distribution of music through Sound American Records. He also runs Pleasure of the Text which releases music by composers of experimental music at the beginnings of their careers in rough and ready mediums."-Nate Wooley Website (http://natewooley.com/about)
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• Show Bio for Kyoko Kitamura
"A former journalist (Fuji Television Network Japan) with childhood piano training at Juilliard Pre-College and a stint as a Gulf War reporter on her résumé ('90-'91 working in Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia), Kyoko Kitamura is an oddball vocalist, composer and bandleader who has worked with many distinguished musicians including Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Steve Coleman, William Parker and Reggie Workman.
She is a featured vocalist on Anthony Braxton's opera Trillium J (New Braxton House 2015), 12 Duets (DCWM) 2012 (NBH 2014), Trillium E (NBH 2011, the first-ever studio-recording of an Anthony Braxton opera), and the Syntactical GTM Choir (NYC) 2011 (NBH 2012). Also known for her interdisciplinary projects, she released her first solo album Armadillo In Sunset Park in 2012, a collection of songs written for and choreographed by Mark Lamb Dance. She can also be heard on the critically acclaimed Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings release Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records 2009), Jamie Baum's Solace (Sunnyside Records 2008), and Steve Coleman's Lucidarium (Label Bleu 2004) among others.
She currently works with Anthony Braxton as a vocalist in his Tri-Centric Orchestra and as the Director of Communications for his Tri-Centric Foundation. She studies counterpoint and Schoenberg harmony with Paul Caputo.
As for her own current projects, she leads Tidepool Fauna (Ingrid Laubrock on sax, Ken Filiano on bass) and co-leads Armadillo In Sunset Park (collaborative project with dancers of Mark Lamb Dance).
Kitamura has garnered critical praise for her "great vocal range, veering from wordless vocalese to near operatic feats" (AllAboutJazz) and All Music Guide describes her as "an expressive vocalist who knows how to be quirky and eccentric but is also quite musical." Most recently, in a performance with the Anthony Braxton Trio at the Angel City Jazz Festival in L.A. (Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Kyoko Kitamura), Robert Bush of AllAboutJazz wrote, "Enough cannot be said about the stunning abilities of Ms. Kitamura-she functions at the highest instrumental level and was able to deal with pages of dense notation, acrobatic intervals and intricate layering with devastating surety." "-Kyoko Kitamura Website (http://www.kyokokitamura.com/biography/)
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• Show Bio for Alex Ward
"Alex Ward was born in 1974. He is a composer, improviser, and performing musician. His primary instruments are clarinet and guitar, and he has also performed in public and on recordings on alto sax, piano/keyboards, bass guitar, and as a vocalist. He was based in Oxford from 1992-2000, and since then has lived in London.
His involvement in freely improvised music dates back to 1986, when he met the guitarist Derek Bailey. As an improviser, he was initially principally a clarinettist (sometimes also playing alto sax), but since 2000 he has also been active as an improvising guitarist. On both instruments, hIs longest-standing collaborations in this field have been with the drummer Steve Noble.
From 1993 to 2001, most of his activity as a composer took place in collaboration with Benjamin Hervé, mainly in the context of the rock band Camp Blackfoot. From 2002-2005, his writing was mostly done solo, and was primarily focused on songs. Since 2006, he has been heavily involved in both solo and collaborative composition, predominantly (though not exclusively) of instrumental music. Much of his writing and performing during this time has been done with Dead Days Beyond Help, a duo with drummer Jem Doulton. He also currently leads a number of bands including Predicate, Forebrace, The Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet, and Alex Ward & The Dead Ends.
He has been a member of many other groups including ensembles led by Eugene Chadbourne, Simon H. Fell and Duck Baker, and has also done various work as a session musician and in collaboration with other media. Since 2005, he has co-run the label Copepod Records with composer/performer Luke Barlow. He does the recording, mixing and/or mastering of most of his own music, and for many of the groups he plays in."-Sites.Google.com (https://sites.google.com/site/alexwardmusician/biography)
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