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Dykstra, Jordan / Koen Nutters

In Better Shape Than You Found Me

Dykstra, Jordan / Koen Nutters: In Better Shape Than You Found Me (elsewhere)

The first album from the duo of American composer & violinist Jordan Dykstra and Dutch composer Koen Nutters, developed by exchanging material of ambient & spacious nature using slow chord development, field recordings, viola, pitch pipe, crotales, piano EBow and electronic programming, the resulting work diverse and constantly evolving through fascinating details.

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product information:

Mastered by Taku Unami, cover photograph by David Sylvian.

Label: elsewhere
Catalog ID: elsewhere 018
Squidco Product Code: 31279

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded in New York City, Charlottesville, and Berlin in 2020.


Jordan Dykstra-viola, pitch pipe, crotales, piano EBow, electronic programming, field recordings

Koen Nutters-piano programming, field recordings

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Artist Biographies:

"Jordan Dykstra (b. 1985, Sioux City, Iowa) is a Brooklyn-based violist and composer exploring the performer-composer-listener relationship through the incorporation of conceptual, graphic, and text-based elements. In 2007 he moved to Portland, OR and became involved in the experimental music scene in the Pacific NW. Aside from performing and recording with individuals and bands - including Dirty Projectors, A Winged Victory for the Sullen with Hildur Guðnadóttir, Atlas Sound, and Valet - he worked at Marriage Records and Publishing House. In 2014 he received a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission to apprentice with Daníel Bjarnason, composer and conductor of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, in Reykjavík, Iceland. He received his BFA in 2016 under Michael Pisaro, Ulrich Krieger, and Wolfgang von Schweinitz at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. In 2018 he received his MA in Experimental Composition from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where - under the mentorship of Alvin Lucier and astrophysicist Seth Redfield - his thesis explored connections between microtonality and the cosmic distance ladder. In 2019 he received a Cultural Grant from the Netherlands-America Foundation to compose "The Arrow of Time" and premiere the work with Reinier van Houdt in Amsterdam. In 2020 The Arrow of Time was listed as one of the best Modern Composition albums by The Wire and included in The Best Contemporary Classical Albums of 2020 by Bandcamp. As a media composer he has numerous credits including the films Blow the Man Down, Hail Satan?, It Comes At Night, and the 2019 Emmy winner for Outstanding Investigative Documentary Documenting Hate. His compositions for film have been heard at Cannes, Sundance, TriBeCa, TIFF, and the IFFR. His performance highlights include MOCA (CA), Harpa (Iceland), Musikfestval Bern (Switzerland), Ftarri (Tokyo), CHAFF (Brussels), Echo Bücher (Berlin), Syros Institute (Greece), Yale Union (OR), Big Ears Festival (TN), and the RISD Museum (RI). Recordings of his music (solo and collaborative) have been issued by New World Records, Domino, Milan, Marriage, Mexican Summer, K, Gilgongo, and Dykstra's own cottage industry label Editions Verde."

-Jordan Dykstra Website (

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Koen Nutters is an upright bass player, born in The Hague, Netherlands in 1976. He is a founding member of the N Collective, and also organises the concertseries: DNK-Amsterdam.

-N-Collective Website (

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

1. In Better Shape Than You Found Me 01:00:00
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"In Better Shape Than You Found Me is a one-hour piece jointly composed and realized by American composer/violist Jordan Dykstra and Dutch composer/musician Koen Nutters in the year 2020. Dykstra plays viola, pitch pipe, crotales, piano EBow, electronic programming, field recordings, and Nutters delivers the piano programming and field recordings. The two bring together their sounds and structures in very organic ways, merging into a single, intriguing sound world."-elsewhere

"As is true of so much music released in 2021, Covid-19 and the lockdown played vital roles in the creation of In Better Shape Than You Found Me, the first album by the duo of American composer & violinist Jordan Dykstra and Dutch composer Koen Nutters. Having previously had an interest in one another's work, and hung out together in Amsterdam-where Nutters organised a concert of a Dykstra work-in early 2020, when Nutters was in NYC for a gig, Dykstra proposed that he and Nutters collaborate on a piece. The pandemic meant that collaboration involved the two sending material back and forth between them. At the time, Nutters had been working on a piano piece "with chords, scales and lots of long silences," and Dykstra on "a lot of ambient soundscapes using field recordings as the basis of their foundation." Inevitably, the back-and-forth exchanges meant that both these elements became crucial ingredients of the joint work entitled "In Better Shape Than You Found Me," the hour-long piece which comprises the full album of the same name.

For many listeners, perhaps the most important information about the piece is that its one-hour running time does not mean it becomes an ordeal or a survival course. Instead, it contains enough variety and detail to sound fresh and vibrant throughout. While there are sounds-of instruments and other things-which recur, that never becomes wearying, as they give a structure to the composition. Alongside frequent interjections from piano, one of the key elements that is repeated is a field recording of birds. Dykstra reports that he made the recording of night birds singing in Brooklyn; he found that because of the lack of cars or loud transport on the roads during lockdown, native animals were singing again and could be heard better. Yes, as this album demonstrates, every cloud has a silver lining...

Dykstra and Koens were so pleased with this jointly-composed piece that they retro-composed a score of it so that it could be performed as heard on this album. In August 2021, a quartet version of it was performed at KM28 in Berlin by Dykstra, Manuel Lima, Lucy Railton and Hannes Lingens, with performances in other cities being discussed. Yes, we have not heard the last of "In Better Shape Than You Found Me." This one looks set to run and run..."-John Eyles, All About Jazz

Mastered by Taku Unami, cover photograph by David Sylvian.

Get additional information at All About Jazz
Related Categories of Interest:

Electroacoustic Composition
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Duo Recordings
Stringed Instruments
Piano & Keyboards
Field Recordings
Electronic Forms
New in Experimental & Electronic Music
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