The Squid's Ear Magazine


ISM: Japanese Flower [VINYL] (Umlaut Records)

The ISM trio brings together Berlin, UK and Paris improvisers Antonin Gerbal (drums), Pat Thomas (piano) and Joel Grip (double bass) for their second album since 2015, recording live at Tokyo's Knuttel House in 2018 for two extended improvisations, collective pieces that unfold from lyrical beginning into tightly packed exchanges of exhilarating blooms.
 

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Personnel:



Joel Grip-double bass

Antonin Gerbal-drums

Pat Thomas-piano


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Label: Umlaut Records
Catalog ID: UMLP06
Squidco Product Code: 31102

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: Sweden / France / Germany
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Knuttel House, in Tokyo, Japan, on November 23rd 2018, by Taku Unami.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"To follow up on their first album Nature in its inscrutability strikes back (Umlaut Records 2015), the unclassifiable European trio ISM] is releasing two new recordings captured during a studio session in Tokyo in November 2018. The first part titled Metaphor was released on CD in the spring of 2019 while the second installment - the LP Japanese Flower.

In this dense and adventurous diptych, the rhythm section of the group [Ahmed] exposes and propels music populated by sound fictions that pulverize the listening habits of the jazz trio format. Sometimes polyphonic, meditative, pulsed and repetitive, abstract or hypnotic, the music of [ISM] is crude, direct, labyrinthine, always rooted in an immediate sound matter - as consisting of abrupt breaks and renewed continuities. Like the floral compositions of the Ikebana artist Junichi Kakizaki, this music can be listened to " like a flower " and step by step unveils a secret unity where the work of improvisation intensifies each of its moments.

[ISM] is a name written in ink. A dash through European creative music. A round trip, Berlin - Oxford, via Paris. [ISM] is Pat, Joel and Antonin in a dotted silence without name. Acoustically, the trio creates abstract forms close of written contemporary music with sounds reminding us of ancient traditional jazz trios. The groove which appears in this music is dense, extreme but always quiet. Music in a continuous flow of high voltage charges. In Arabic, اسم [ISM] is a way to connect between different cultural and imaginary worlds. اسم [ISM] is word that means The Name."-Umlaut



"The trio اسم [Ism] is comprised of pianist Pat Thomas, bassist Joel Grip and drummer Antonin Gerbal. Japanese Flower by the trio is the second release from a 2018 recording session from Knuttal House in Tokyo, Japan. It is the trio's third release and it follows Metaphor (2019) and إنتقام الطبيعة اسبب تعقدها = Nature In Its Inscrutability Strikes Back (2015), all three released on Umlaut Records. اسم in Arabic, translates to 'Ism" or in English, 'The Name.' For sure, Ism gives a name to this sound, whether that is free improvisation, postmodern post-bop, or just plain liberation music, the trio sets loose anything anchored in place.

Released as an LP (or download), the two sides each present twenty minutes of densely packed energy music. "Dahlia" opens Cecil Taylor- like with Thomas dancing the keys before the trio's liftoff into luminescence. Backed by a surge of cymbal attack and Grip's inter-threading bass, Thomas reaches back through jazz piano history to Bud Powell's finger grooves filtered through an immediacy of sound. As the piece progresses, it picks up a locomotion encouraged by Gerbal's furious brushwork and Grip's scorching fingers. Thomas' solo right hand attack is soon joined by his left for block density. The trio heard here in full flight is a transcendent experience. But wait, there's more. "Tomato" opens with Grip bouncing his bow upon the strings of his bass as Gerbal likewise, drizzles upon his drum kit and Thomas dances a hop, skip and jump across his keyboard. This bounce sprinkle develops into a downpour, then a deluge. The pace quickens as the trio morphs into a speed freak zone, drunk on adrenaline. Of course all that goes up, must come down, and the Ism trio glides to conclusion with an oblique bebop promenade. "-Mark Corroto, All About Jazz


Get additional information at All About Jazz

Artist Biographies

"For a number of years now, energetic double bassist, filmmaker and producer Grip has played an important role for the new scenes of improvised music in Europe. As founder of Umlaut Records, he opened up for creative forms of organizing collectives of musicians and promoting their music internationally. Since 2003 he has been one of the main organizers of Hagenfesten in Dala-Floda, Sweden, a stand-alone festival, and quite frankly possibly the most pleasant venue for free improvised music not only in Sweden but in the whole of Europe. Few other places offer quite the same endearing combination of sophisticated musical risk-taking, and up-beat, social get-together. Grip’s musicianship is informed by a similar knack for welding musical sophistication with social communication, often with an analog film camera at hand. With a handful of short films Joel Grip met mexican filmmaker Mauricio Hernández and shortly the film production company Umlicht was established. They are right now working on their third and forth feature film together. Umdicht is amplifying the pencil of Joel Grip’s hand, partly through the irregular issue of Lösa Blad and partly in the future release of books."

-Joel Grip Website (http://www.joelgrip.com/Joel/biograf.html)
11/27/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Since the release of File under: Bebop - Peeping Tom in 2009, Antonin Gerbal has developed his own approach of the drums - reinterpreting history of jazz drumming through the prism of european musical improvisation. Improviser, composer, teacher and performer, Antonin Gerbal is associated with the vitality of the Parisian music scene, notably through Umlaut Records. He has performed in Europe, U.S., Russia and Japan, with many original projects such as Nakasanye, Zoor, ISM or Peeping Tom. Involved in large ensembles such as ONCEIM (playing pieces Eliane Radigue or Stephen O'Malley) and Umlaut Big Band (swing dancing band), Antonin Gerbal works regularly with English, German, Swiss and Japanese artists. At the begining of 2016, he releases his solo works called Sound of Drums."

-Antonin Gerbal Website (http://antoningerbal.com/about)
11/27/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Born 27 July 1960; Piano, electronics. Pat Thomas started playing at the age of 8 and studied classical music and played reggae. He began playing jazz at sixteen after seeing Oscar Peterson on television then listened to snatches of jazz on the radio before, in 1979, playing his first serious improvised gigs. From 1986 he played with Ghosts which was Pete McPhail and Matt Lewis.

In addition to programming his keyboards, Pat Thomas also utilises prerecorded tapes. He told Chris Blackford (1991), 'As far as the tapes are concerned I'll probably just sit in front of the TV and tape whatever's going on and so some editing afterward to decide what might be useful. ...But I don't actually put a label on each tape saying what's on there, so when I come to use them I don't know what I'm going to be playing. That obviously prevents me from setting things up. I pick them at random and see what happens. So I'm just as surprised as anybody else at what comes out'.

In 1988 he was awarded an Arts Council Jazz Bursary to write three new electroacoustic compositions for his ten-piece ensemble, Monads: Roger Turner and Matt Lewis, percussion; Pete McPhail, WX7 wind synthesizer; Neil Palmer, turntables; Phil Minton, voice; Phil Durrant, violin; Marcio Mattos, bass; Jon Corbett, trumpet; Geoff Searle, drum machines. The intention was to feature different aspects of electronics using improvisation so, for example, one piece - Dialogue - featured Pete McPhail and Neil Palmer, another concentrated on the interaction of percussionists and drum machines, and a third piece had Phil Minton and Jon Corbett improvising with a computer. The pieces were performed at the Crawley Outside-In Festival of new music in 1989.

Pat Thomas was invited by Derek Bailey to play in Company Week in 1990 and 1991 and he also took part in the Ist International Symposium for Free Improvisation in Bremen with the guitarist. He has been a member of the Tony Oxley Quartet (documented on Incus CD 15) and played in Oxley's Angular Apron along with Larry Stabbins, Manfred Schoof and Sirone at the 8th Ruhr Jazz Meeting and in the percussionist's Celebration Orchestra. He plays with Lol Coxhill in a range of combinations from duo to being a member of 'Before my time', is a member of Mike Cooper's Continental Drift, and he has a well established duo with percussionist Mark Sanders and a trio with Steve Beresford and Francine Luce. In 1992 Pat Thomas formed the quartet Scatter with Phil Minton, Roger Turner and Dave Tucker; funded by the Arts Council they toured the UK in 1993 and again at the beginning of 1997.

On the 'Festival circuit', Pat Thomas has appeared at: the Young Improvisors Festival at the Korzo Theatre, Den Haag (with Jim O'Rourke, Mats Gustafsson and Alexander Frangenheim); Angelica 95 in Bologna, Italy; the Stuttgart 5th Festival of Improvised Music 96 (with Fred Frith, Shelly Hirsch, Carlos Zingaro and others); and the 3rd International Festival 96 in Budapest (with Evan Parker, Phil Minton, John Russell and Roger Turner).

-EFI (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/mthomas.html)
11/27/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



SIDE A



1. Dahlia 20:23

SIDE B



1. Tomato 20:18

Related Categories of Interest:


Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Collective Free Improvsation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Trio Recordings
Piano Trio (Piano Bass Drums)
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Umlaut Records.


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