Originally issued in 1995 on the No More Records label, this was New York pianist Matthew Shipp's 6th release as a leader and first solo album, still a rarity in his discography, as we hear Shipp in 14 succinct improvisation that explore texture, tone, and his frameworks that embrace a structured approach to theoretical aspects of the music with warmth and lyricism.
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Catalog ID: hatOLOGY 749
Squidco Product Code: 25038
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Baby Monster Studios, in New York, New York, on November 22nd, 1995, by Chris Flam.
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• Show Bio for Matthew Shipp
"Matthew Shipp was born December 7, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware. He started piano at 5 years old with the regular piano lessons most kids have experienced. He fell in love with jazz at 12 years old. After moving to New York in 1984 he quickly became one of the leading lights in the New York jazz scene. He was a sideman in the David S. Ware quartet and also for Roscoe Mitchell's Note Factory before making the decision to concentrate on his own music.
Mr Shipp has reached the holy grail of jazz in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument that is all of his own- and he's one of the few in jazz that can say so. Mr. Shipp has recorded a lot of albums with many labels but his 2 most enduring relationships have been with two labels. In the 1990s he recorded a number of chamber jazz cds with Hatology, a group of cds that charted a new course for jazz that, to this day, the jazz world has not realized. In the 2000s Mr Shipp has been curator and director of the label Thirsty Ear's "Blue Series" and has also recorded for them. In this collection of recordings he has generated a whole body of work that is visionary, far reaching and many faceted."-Matthew Shipp Website (http://www.matthewshipp.com/bio.html)
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1. Clocks 7:05
2. Harmonic Oscillator 3:51
3. Temperate Zone 1:57
4. Symbol Systems 4:50
5. The Highway 6:09
6. Self-Regulated Motion 3:20
7. Frame 5:12
8. Flow of Meaning 7:14
9. Dance of the Blue Atoms 3:26
10. Bop Abyss 4:36
11. Nerve Signals 3:33
12. Algebraic Boogie 2:16
13. The Inventor, Pt. 1 4:16
14. The Inventor, Pt. 2 3:08
sample the album:
"Symbol Systems occupies a special place in Matthew Shipp's discography. Originally issued in 1995 on the No More Records label, it was at the time his sixth release as a leader or co-leader, but significantly his first solo album, and as such provided us with the purest view to date of his multifaceted, indivisible improvisational/compositional concepts. Matthew Shipp was born in 1960 in Delaware. He began piano at 5 years old, and fell in love when jazz when he was 12. After moving to New York in 1984 he quickly became one of the leading lights in the New York Jazz Scene. Mr. Shipp has reached the holy grail of jazz in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument that is all his own- and he's one of the few in jazz that can say so."-Hat Hut
"In 1995 most folks were still equating Matthew Shipp with Cecil Taylor because of his occasionally percussive method of improvisation, but Shipp was already in the studio proving them wrong. This solo recording from that period of 14 short- and medium-length pieces (the longest piece here, "Flow of Meaning," is only seven minutes and 14 seconds) shows a very introspective composer and improviser exploring textural as well as tonal worlds, and employing this complex yet haunting, beautiful harmonic framework into play in a sequence of tunes that explicate his methodology better than even the Hat album by The Law of Music. Shipp isn't looking at sound on any of these pieces so much as he's looking for the font of sound itself. On "Self-Regulated Motion," he's breaking down the diatonic system one chord at a time and cleverly creating an alternate modality. On "Clocks" he takes a gradual approach to reworking the chromatics of the entire lower register of the keyboard. On "Harmonic Oscillator" he begins by combining the left-hand techniques of Bud Powell and the rhythmic ideas of Herbie Nichols to complete a bridge of tonal chromatics and contrapuntal ostinato. In other words, there is no meditation that Shipp isn't undertaking here. And none of it is academic. There is real soul and beauty in this music, true warmth and character in its dynamic and dramatic reaches. Symbol Systems is a recommended place for those who are interested but unfamiliar with Shipp as a pianist, improviser, and composer to discover why, along with Marilyn Crispell and Myra Melford, he is the most exciting pianist in jazz music."-Thom Jurek, All Music
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